Jonathan Rea sits second in the World Superbike Championship for the first time in his career after delivering a 'perfect' run to the podium for the fourth time this season at Misano.
The Ulsterman had looked in close contention for victory in the opening race having assumed the early lead from second on the grid, but while he held out front for 17 of the 24 laps, a dramatic drop in tyre wear would see him slip to fifth at the chequered flag.
Nonetheless, Rea struck back in race two, settling into second position from lap nine and proceeding to repel the persistent attentions of Leon Haslam for the following 15 laps.
Describing it as a 'perfect race' in the circumstances, the Honda rider was delighted to be one of only two riders to secure two top five finishes around the Rimini venue.
“The first race was quite strange and I was comfortable at the front in the first part, but then the tyre went off so quickly and dramatically and it was all I could do to bring it home in fifth,” Rea, who is 38.5 points Biaggi in the standings, said.
“I had to ride a perfect race in the second outing because from about lap nine I had '+0, Haslam' on my board and that went on for the whole race.
In the beginning of that race I got stuck behind Tom [Sykes] and Giuliano was being quite aggressive, so I got out of my rhythm a bit. But I stayed calm and re-grouped and made a nice pass on Tom. I made no mistakes but Leon stayed very close so he gave me a lot of pressure. I rode the best last laps that I could and it's good to finish second here after struggling in the last couple of years.
“Now summer has arrived, I'm happy that our bike is working on the softer 'A' tyre and my guys are working calmly in the box. To get back on the podium at a circuit where we struggled so much before is good.”
Looking ahead to the eighth round at Motorland Aragon, Rea is unfazed by the fact he has never ridden the Spanish circuit before having missed last year's inaugural WSBK visit due to injury.
“I'm looking forward to going to Aragon now – it's exciting, because it's going to be a new circuit for me and I always enjoy that challenge.”