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Rea cruises to Nurburgring victory

5 September 2010

Jonathan Rea has taken his fourth World Superbike Championship win of the season with a commanding lights-to-flag victory in an otherwise eventful race at the Nurburgring.

The Northern Irishman made the most of his inherited inside front row grid position to snatch the lead at the first bend before protecting his advantage to the chequered flag.

Having been bumped up from fifth to fourth by virtue of a penalty for original front row qualifier James Toseland after qualifying, Rea signalled his 'inside advantage' during the first start as he grabbed the lead through the opening sector.

However, he would have just one lap to enjoy his time out front when the race was stopped following an accident for Leon Haslam and Troy Corser at turn four. Haslam came down on the outside of the bend, sending various bikes scattering to avoid him, including the two Yamahas, but it was Corser that would find himself with nowhere to go as he was forced to come down.

Despite this, both riders made the restart, though Haslam appeared to be struggling with his hand after seemingly being clipped by a rival whilst on the ground.

At the restart, Max Biaggi got away best from pole position, but found himself nudged to the outside of the pack when Carlos Checa's attempts to go deep instead sent both himself and his rival wide. While Checa collected it in time to hold onto second, Biaggi was down to eighth.

Instead, Rea was out in the lead once more, followed by Checa, Noriyuki Haga, Tom Sykes and an ailing Haslam.

Further back, Corser continued his erratic weekend as he eliminated both himself and Sylvain Guintoli from the reckoning with a bungled move at the Dunlop hairpin, the Australian making contact with the Frenchman to send them across the gravel and to the back of the field.

Having started down in tenth place, Cal Crutchlow was making good early progress, passing both Haslam and Sykes to be up to fourth by the end of lap two. However, while Crutchlow was moving up, team-mate James Toseland was down and out, the former champion crashing at Kumho after low-siding from his Yamaha.

Back at the front, Haga was pressuring fellow Ducati rider Checa for second, the Japanese rider – a double Nurburgring winner in 2008 – scything past on lap three.

However, while Haga briefly hinted at a charge up to the back of the leader, Rea simply pumped in a new fastest lap to up the pressure. Indeed, as the race neared the mid-way point, Haga was coming under renewed pressure from Checa once more, a toll that eventually told when he crashed out of the position on lap eight at Kumho, much to his obvious frustration.

Breaking up the leading group, while Checa worked hard to try and get the gap down to Rea, it wasn't enough to put the result in any doubt, Rea crossing the line for his fourth win of the year, one that also cements his third place in the standings.

A late charge would see Checa finish just over a second behind, while Crutchlow would fade back to a lonely third, just over ten seconds adrift of the leaders.

Capitalising on accidents for Haga, Toseland and Michel Fabrizio – the latter compounding an awful race for Ducati Xerox by falling at turn one before eventually retiring -, Biaggi battled his way back up to fourth position to eke out a further three points on his series lead over sixth place Haslam.

Making the most of his season-best seventh place starting position, Tom Sykes completed his second top five finish for Kawasaki with a spirited ride, the Briton doing a fine job to maintain a good pace throughout.

While the lead group was strung out, the battle for sixth went down to the wire as Haslam tussled with Ruben Xaus, Shane Byrne and Guintoli, the latter making an outstanding fight back from his earlier delay to join the pack late on.

Nonetheless, while Xaus was able to catch and pass Haslam five laps from the finish, the Briton dug deep on the final lap to snatch sixth place back off the Spaniard and keep the damage to his title hopes fairly minimal. Xaus finished seventh in an otherwise tough race for BMW on home soil, ahead of Guintoli and Byrne.

With just 14 riders reaching the chequered flag, Luca Scassa was tenth, Lorenzo Lanzi 11th, Ian Lowry 12th on his WSBK debut, Roger Lee Hayden 13th and Matteo Baiocco 14th.


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