Imola 1-2 For Rea And Sykes2018-05-13 16:24
In warm and sticky conditions Rea started the first 19-lap race of the WorldSBK race weekend from pole position, having secured his 16th career Superpole just a couple of hours before the 1pm race start.
Jonathan led from flag-to-flag with only his own team-mate Sykes for company in the first few laps, before Rea’s pace took him to an eventual margin of victory of 3.755 seconds. His latest win was his fourth of the season, all of them coming at different circuits.
After gathering a lot of data in practice on Friday, Sykes and his crew found a strong set-up on Saturday morning and Tom ended up second in Superpole qualifying.
Getting away from the start line ahead of all his rivals except Rea, Tom pushed his pace but realised that second was going to be his best possible result and he took 20 valuable championship points.
Sykes’ finished over three seconds ahead of his closest podium challenger, and is now fourth in the championship standings.
Rea’s fourth success of the year was the 58th of his career and takes him to within one victory of sharing the all-time record for WorldSBK race wins with Carl Fogarty.
Regular BSB rider Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) started from 11th place on the grid and finished his first race of the WorldSBK season ninth.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Going to the front from the start was my only plan today. My pace has been a little bit extra all weekend so the best thing for me to was to set my own rhythm and not get involved in anyone else’s race. There was a five lap plan to make a small gap but I had more than one second of advantage, so I was happy to ride to my own pit-board after that. When the gap was stagnant I could make a small effort, without taking many risks, because the temperature came up quite a lot today. The bike behaved differently because of this, so I was just trying to understand all the limits of the bike through the race and bring it home. It felt like a long race but I had a good solid rhythm, and that was enough.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I was fairly happy with the bike set-up and the pace was pretty good. Yesterday looked worse on paper than it was, because we did a lot of trial and error testing, but today we put it all together. I just missed a few tenths of a second compared to Jonathan. I had clear track for much of today so I was able to use the bike in the best way possible. I just followed the warnings from the front and rear tyres and in some areas I was not quite as settled on the front. We need to improve just in some areas tomorrow. We will work to make a few little set-up changes to enable me to push a little bit faster at the beginning of race two.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 9, Wins 4, Podiums 7, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 58 (43 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 119 (77 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 9, Wins 1, Podiums 3, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 103 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 43 (43 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 114 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 358 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 76 – second overall
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team
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