Jonathan Rea has hauled himself into World Superbike Championship title contention after notching up another impressive win at PATA Honda's home venue of Assen – his fifth win in four years at the Dutch circuit.
A happy hunting ground for the Ulsterman in the past having won in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Rea came into the 2014 races as a firm favourite for victory contention, despite starting from the second row of the grid.
Forced to settle for third place in a dry first race after struggling to keep the pace with Sylvain Guintoli and Tom Sykes, the wet conditions of race two would renew his chances as he swept into an early lead he would maintain to the chequered flag.
A 'special win' for Rea, who maintains his record of having won at least one race each season since his 2009 debut, he says he had more than the rain to battle in race two as he attempted to keep the memories of his calamitous tumble at Magny-Cours in 2012 far from his mind.
“It's been a really good weekend because we've been on the podium twice. To be honest, our dry pace was OK in race one but Sylvain [Guintoli] made such a fast start to the race, I struggled to go with him. When Tom [Sykes] went past I made a big mistake but, after that, my pace until the end was quite similar to theirs.
“For race two we were quite excited to see if we could go with them in the dry but during the break it rained quite heavily. After some delays, we got going for a 10-lap race and to win that was really special. It's a wet race win around Assen but I kept having flash-backs to Magny-Cours in 2012 when I had a 10-second lead and crashed. For the last laps I just tried to be as smart as I could, and they were long laps, because I had a bit of a gap.
“I just want to thank all the team. This win's for all those guys who have worked tirelessly throughout the winter and since the start of the season to make the CBR as strong as possible. It's great to be able to give them back some good vibes to roll with into the next part of the season.”
The result moves Rea up the WSBK order to fourth overall, 19 points behind leader Sykes.