Rea stays in reach
Facing a Bautista/Ducati tandem in great shape, Jonathan Rea managed to clock up three second places on the Buriram circuit. Results that allow the Kawasaki rider to keep the championship leader within reach.
Four-time world champion Jonathan Rea wasn’t born yesterday. With the arrival this year of the new Ducati Panigale and that of Alvaro Bautista behind the handlebars of the Italian bike, the Kawasaki rider knew he would have to grin and bear it at the start of the season. While waiting for the performance of the different machines to be rebalanced, Rea has had to limit the damage. That’s just what he did very well in Thailand, making it three times to the second step of the podium.
“It’s the best I could hope for this weekend,” said the Brit. “I stayed in Alvaro’s wake as long as I could, but as soon as I lost his slipstream I could do nothing else but let him go. Aside from a small stability problem on braking, I had a very good bike this weekend. The team, once again, did a great job.”
Suffering from a pinched nerve in his back, and lacking feeling with the big brake discs that the riders had to use this weekend in Buriram, Leon Haslam had to settle for three fifth places.
Toprak Razgatlioglu finished tenth on Saturday, thirteenth and ninth on Sunday. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo finished sixth, as he had done at Phillip Island for the opening of the championship.
“The difference is that this time I fought it out for a long time in the top three and I finished within five seconds from the winner,” said the Japanese. Having to start from the back of the grid because of low tire pressure during the practice test sessions, Lucas Mahias managed to take the checkered flag in eighth place.
No change in the overall Superbike ranking for the two Kawasaki official riders. As in Australia, Jonathan Rea scored 49 points in Thailand, consolidating his second place, now 26 points behind Alvaro Bautista. Leon Haslam keeps his sixth position with 51 points on the clock. Toprak Razgatlioglu has gained two places, and is now ninth with 24 points. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo has climbed to fifth place with 20 points while Lucas Mahias is in ninth place with 12 points.