11 May 2014
WSBK Imola: Perfect Rea on top of the world
"I couldn't have imagined doubling up coming here" - Jonathan Rea.
No-one but Jonathan Rea led a World Superbike race lap at Imola on Sunday as the Pata Honda star moved to the top of the world championship standings.
The 27-year-old comfortably won both races from pole position, also setting the fastest lap in each outing.
Rea now leads the championship by four points from fellow Brit and reigning title holder Tom Sykes heading to their home round at Donington Park, before which a day of testing will be held at Imola on Monday.
“It's been a great weekend for me! I couldn't have imagined doubling up coming here. But I knew we'd be strong because it's a circuit I really enjoy and one that the bike goes really well at,” said Rea.
“To cap it off, it's also been a perfect weekend for the team with Lorenzo [Zanetti] winning his first World Supersport race so massive congratulations to him. Mikey [van der Mark] was on the podium and he's leading the championship, too.
“It's a shame we have a test tomorrow because I think everybody in the team deserves to go and really enjoy the night and savour this moment but it's back to work tomorrow!
“We'll try to make the bike better and go to Donington hopefully to keep this ball rolling. I'm really enjoying riding right now and I want to thank everyone who's put t he work in. Not just the track staff here but the guys back at base in Nieuwleusen [Netherlands]. It's also the home round for our sponsors, Pata, so a big thanks to them, too.”
The Imola sweep followed on from a wet win at Assen and Rea now needs just one more victory to match his WSBK record of four in a year from 2010, when he also finished a best yet fourth in the championship.
On the other side of the Pata pits, team-mate Leon Haslam was left frustrated at his tenth and eighth places, especially with the Ten Kate Supersport team adding to Rea's success with a one-two in the 600cc race.
“We've made a step but from free practice yesterday morning we've lost about a second a lap,” said Haslam. “From being able to do high 47s and low 48s on old, used tyres, we've only been able to do high 48s today, dropping into the 49s.
“I was quicker on an 18-lap harder tyre on Friday than I was in both races today. So, for me it's not been a good weekend, but it's been fantastic for the team. You always want to beat your team mate, but it's good that the bike is capable and for me that's a positive.
“Also a one-two in Supersport is mega for the team but it probably adds a little frustration from my side because it could have been good for me.
“We've got a test here tomorrow so we'll hopefully be able to figure some things out and find out what changed from yesterday. I know Donington well and that the bike can work well there, so hopefully I can start my season there!”
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