Monday, June 22

REA & KAWASAKI KEEP ON ROLLING

Kawasaki men Jonathan Rea (left) and Tom Sykes on the podium at Misano, with Ducati's Chaz Davies (right).
After years battling with on an uncompetitive Honda Fireblade, Irishman Jonathan Rea has not quite got used to winning.  Not just yet.  Despite a healthy lead in the 2015 eni Superbike World Championship, Rea is just as keen to go all-out for a win as he was at Phillip Island in February.

The result was that after finishing a distant second to Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes in the first race at Misano on Sunday, he was more determined than ever to score another win.

Tom Sykes took pole and won the first race at
Misano convincingly.
And that’s just what he did.  With the championship lead he has, he could have settled for a comfortable second, or even third, in the second race.  But that’s not in the Irishman’s make-up.  As a result, after stalking race two leader Davide Giugliano for the mid-section of race two, he made a daring inside pass in a 260 km/h bend, snatched the lead and pulled away to his 11th win of the year.

When he hasn’t been winning, Rea has finished second every time.  A remarkable achievement.

Underlining the Kawasaki dominance, former champion Tom Sykes started from pole, shot into the lead, and at the end stretched away and won the first race convincingly.

Behind him Davide Giugliano on the factory Ducati Panigale gave chase, and battled for the lead, not ever quite able to exert the upper hand.

Giugliano hung in there until he started losing rear grip, then slipped back into the clutches of a fast-finishing Rea, who had worked his way up from fourth place early on.

First Rea had to deal with his former Honda team-mate Leon Haslam on the Red Devils Aprilia, then had to fend off the advances of second factory Ducati man Chaz Davies toward the end.  The two of them were setting a fast end of race pace that carried them up to the faltering Giugliano and the pair of them nailed the hapless Italian with two laps to go.

Davide Giugliano missed out on the podium in race one
but made up for that in race two
.
Giugliano had to be satisfied with fourth – and a new lap record of 1m 34.855s set on the third lap.

Thanks to his very fast pace, Davies came up from 11th on the grid, used the opening laps to cut his way through the field, moving into fourth place by lap seven.  On lap 16 he reached Rea, and it was at this point both riders gave chase to Giugliano, battling amongst themselves before passing the Italian.

Chaz Davies scored Ducati's 800th 
SWC podium at Misano.
Davies’ third place brought the number of podiums scored by Ducati to an incredible total of 800 since the championship began in 1988.

For race one results, click here

Race two saw Sykes again lead away and he kept his Kawasaki out front for the first six laps.  Then Giugliano shot through into the lead and pulled away.  However, Rea got his head down and relentlessly closed the gap over the next nine laps before slicing through into the lead in the fastest corner on the Italian circuit.

Sykes was third for most of the time the Ducati man was in the lead but drifted back from the leading duo – eventually into the clutches of Chaz Davies and Leon Haslam.

Davies made his move up the inside in the esses, got off-line, as did Sykes, allowing Haslam to snatch third, which he held onto until the end.

Max Biaggi came out of two years of retirement to 
race a special factory APrilia at Misano.
 Sykes continued to drift back and finished the race in fifth place, just ahead of Max Biaggi on a special factory Aprilia, who had been involved in an almost race-long battle with Jordi Torres on the second Red Devils Aprilia.  Torres had got past the Roman on the second lap and fended off the two-times Superbike World Champion until two laps from the end.

For the Superbike rookie, it made amends for crashing out on the third lap of the first race

At the chequered flag, Rea was 1.3 seconds ahead of Giugliano with Haslam a further second back, just ahead of Davies, then there was a three second gap to Sykes, with a fast-finishing Biaggi just a couple of tenths astern.

For Rea, switching from the harder option rear Pirelli he had used in the first race to the softer rear everyone else was using proved the difference between winning and finishing second, even though the track temperature was 12 degrees higher.

Tiger, tiger burning bright... Jonathan Rea is revelling in the winning ways of the
Kawasaki ZX-10R.

 “Obviously we have to start to think about the championship now,” said Rea later.  “But I wanted to win today.  In race two Davide Giugliano was a good marker to understand my pace and then with a few laps left I made a move to pass.  We made a great race and I think at the end we are using our rear tyres better than some others.  We changed our rear tyre choice from race one and that was always the plan, as the morning was a bit cooler.  

“Kawasaki has given us a bike to win and they proved that today with Tom winning race one and me winning race two.  I am so grateful to be in this position and to have the opportunity to fight to wins.”

Sykes was disappointed not to have also been able to fight for the win in the second race.

“A lot of people would dream about a weekend with a pole position, a win and a fifth place but we were just not able to do it in race two,” Sykes said.

“I do not think I started very well in race two but from the beginning I was lacking some grip and it was very difficult to recover.  When I started fighting with other riders I was not able to be strong where I needed to be but we tried everything we could.  I knew both races would be difficult today but we had a great race one.  We were just not able to repeat it in race two.”

Davide Giugliano was tired and sore after the second race 
at Misano, but he made it to the podium
Giugliano was again denied his maiden Superbike win, but second in the second race was better than losing that position as he had in the first one.

“We were so close to the podium in race one and then got there in race two, but I’m a little disappointed because I wanted to win here,” Giugliano said.  “Unfortunately Friday’s session and the fact I couldn’t work effectively due to my physical condition didn’t help us.  

"Today I was missing a little grip in both races, the rear tyre was sliding around and that made it difficult to ride as I wanted in the final laps.  But all in all, I’m pleased because I was able to hold the lead for many laps in race two and, seeing that I only came back at Imola, this shows that the bike has developed and that we are working really well.”

For race two results, click here