Jonathan Rea moved another step closer to a fourth consecutive WorldSBK title with a double victory at Misano. The Ulsterman has now won the last four races since his controversial collision with Tom Sykes at Brno and enjoys a 92-point championship lead over Chaz Davies heading into the two-month summer break.
Although he was narrowly beaten in Superpole on Saturday morning by Sykes, who claimed his seventh consecutive Misano pole, Rea enjoyed a serene ride to victory in the opening race of the weekend. The reigning champion immediately left his team-mate trailing before building a comfortable advantage over Eugene Laverty’s Aprilia.
Rea claimed victory with the minimum of fuss although second spot would change hands in the closing stages as an error from Laverty at turn 16 opened the door for Davies to squeeze through. Laverty maintained third to hand Aprilia their second consecutive rostrum while Michael van der Mark saw off Sykes for fourth, earning him race two pole position.
Van der Mark’s grid advantage proved a critical factor in race two as the Dutchman led from the off, controlling the race as Rea found life tougher than normal on his way through the field. The Kawasaki rider would finally overhaul the Yamaha three laps from home, taking his tenth win of the year by just three tenths of a second with Marco Melandri close behind in third.
Davies was only fourth, haemorrhaging more valuable points to Rea in the title chase, while Sykes could only match his race one showing in fifth despite benefitting from the reverse grid format. Alex Lowes completed the top six on Sunday, going some way to atone for the crash which ended his participation in race one.