Jonathan Rea has taken the Superbike World Championship lead after clinching just the second double victory of his career at Imola. The Ulsterman dominated both races from the front to claim a maximum points haul, lifting him four points ahead of defending champion Tom Sykes.
The PATA Honda rider has now won three races on the bounce and surprised even himself with his success in Italy.
“It’s been a great weekend for me! I couldn’t have imagined doubling up coming here. But I knew we’d be strong because it’s a circuit I really enjoy and one that the bike goes really well at. To cap it off, it’s also been a perfect weekend for the team with Lorenzo (Zanetti) winning his first World Supersport race so massive congratulations to him. Mikey (van der Mark) was on the podium and he’s leading the championship, too. It’s a shame we have a test tomorrow because I think everybody in the team deserves to go and really enjoy the night and savour this moment but it’s back to work tomorrow! We’ll try to make the bike better and go to Donington hopefully to keep this ball rolling. I’m really enjoying riding right now and I want to thank everyone who’s put the work in. Not just the track staff here but the guys back at base in Nieuwleusen. It’s also the home round for our sponsors, Pata, so a big thanks to them, too.”
Chaz Davies took a brace of second place finishes although he had to work his socks off to achieve it in race one, overtaking Sylvain Guintoli five laps from the end of race one after a late dive on the brakes into Rivazza. The fight for the final podium place was fierce though with Sykes needing two attempts to pass Guintoli at Variante Alta having speared across the grass first time around. Loris Baz would also get the better of Guintoli on the last lap for fourth with Marco Melandri following his Aprilia teammate home in sixth.
While Rea did another disappearing act in race two, Davies had to come from behind after falling to sixth early on. A late move on Guintoli did the trick with Baz beating Sykes to fourth in a final lap squabble, ensuring his teammate would surrender the championship lead. Loris lies fourth overall behind Sylvain Guintoli with just twenty points covering the leading quartet.