No Rest for Rea
As in Australia and Thailand, Jonathan Rea was unable to beat Alvaro Bautista as the championship returned to Europe. The Kawasaki rider nevertheless won three second places, keeping in touch with the leader in the standings.
The races link up and look alike for the two strongmen in this start of the season, the transfer from MotoGP Alavaro Bautista, and Jonathan Rea the quadruple Superbike world champion and titleholder. Behind the handlebars of a Kawasaki currently under-performing compared with the brand-new Ducati Panigale V4, the Brit still has hopes for the future. For the first event held on European soil, he also clocked up three second places despite some complications in the free practice sessions and a start on Saturday afternoon from the fourth row of the grid. Although he never crossed swords with Bautista, the Kawasaki rider battled hard with Chaz Davies on the other Ducati and Alex Lowes on his Yamaha. “Once again we couldn’t hope for more this weekend,” sighed Rea. “Apart from the small mistake I made during the practice test sessions that forced me to start way back, we did the best we could with the bike. On Saturday afternoon, I even managed to come back to second place after only four laps.” For the record, that day, the Brit became the fifth rider in World Superbike history to reach the milestone of two hundred and fifty starts. “On Sunday morning the sprint was not easy because it was cool and we missed grip in the last few laps,” he continued. “That’s what made me cautious for Sunday afternoon’s race. I spared my tires in the first kilometres to be able to attack in the last laps.” And once again take the lead over Chaz Davies and Alex Lowes. Leon Haslam had trouble in Spain adjusting his bike for the braking phases. Ninth on Saturday, the Kawasaki rider set the record straight the next day with a seventh and fourth place finish. Toprak Razgatlioglu was seventh and tenth before being forced to retire on Sunday afternoon. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo scored a hat trick taking seventh and eighth places.
With three second places, Jonathan Rea scored another 49 points in Spain. Now in solid second place in the championship, the four-time world champion is only 39 points behind Alvaro Bautista. Behind them, Leon Haslam has moved up a place. The English rider is now fifth with 74 points. Toprak Razgatlioglu has slipped back to twelfth place. No change in Supersport: Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo are in fifth and ninth place respectively.