Jonathan Rea scored his debut World Superbike podium in race two at Kyalami, breaking a frustrating absence from the top three for the HANNspree Ten Kate team in the process.

Having been kept out of the top three by the dominant Ducatis of Nori Haga and Michel Fabrizio, as well as Ben Spies' Yamaha, in race one, Rea made the most of a good start - and little bit of good luck when the American retired - to move into a podium position second time around, although he was made to work hard for his result by both Max Biaggi and fellow Brit Leon Haslam.

From fifth on the grid, Rea vaulted into an early third spot, before Fabrizio slid past at Westbank on lap four, but returned to the position when Spies was sidelined by a faulty gearshift. In the latter stages of the race, the Irishman held off the attentions of fellow Honda rider Haslam - who had replaced veteran Biaggi as his chief pursuer mid-race - before pulling away from the Stiggy ace and leaving him to deal with the Italian.

"This feels really good," Rea admitted, "I was hoping it might have come sooner, but we had a pretty slow start to the season. In fact, you could say the season started three rounds before we did!

"But the development is going really well now and I'd like to thank the whole team for working so hard to move things in the right direction. I'd also like to apologise to all their wives for the late nights they've been putting in at the workshop!"

Having admitted to using varying lines through many of Kyalami's corners in a bid to keep Biaggi guessing in race one, Rea revealed that he had again had to be tactical in his battle for the podium in race two.

"The crew were giving me great signals through the second race," he explained, "I knew I was coming under a bit of pressure, and I actually knocked the pace off a bit to keep Haslam and Biaggi behind me, so that I had a bit in reserve in the last few laps. It's a great feeling - and the first of many, I hope."

Team boss Ronald ten Kate was fulsome in his praise, not only for Rea, but also the backroom staff that had helped turn the HANNspree squad's fortunes around.

It's nothing new to say that we've had a rough and tough start to the season, and the route we have taken since Valencia has taken a few rounds to dial in, but it's clear to see that we're on the up again," the Dutchman claimed, "Today's podium for Johnny is a big bonus and reward for the whole team effort. On a twisty and bumpy track like Kyalami, it shows the great work of everyone involved, but big compliments to Johnny, who rode very intelligently today."

Rea's team-mate, Carlos Checa, put in two solid performances to take home a pair of sixth place finishes, battling a mix of rear grip problems and chatter to record his best results of the season thus far, but admitted that he had mixed feelings after seeing the Irishman on the podium.

"It's not easy seeing your team-mates getting this success - Kiyo in Monza last week and Jonathan today - but I must say that this is probably the most positive weekend we have had this season," the Italian conceded, "We're now a bit closer to something we can work with to move in the right direction, which is back to the front."


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