Jonathan Rea has paid credit to his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes in their enthralling race two battle and despite losing his perfect start to the defence of his World Superbike title he leaves Thailand having extended his championship points lead.
The Kawasaki rider dominated to race one victory at the Chang International Circuit but lost out to Sykes in Sunday's second race after the pair traded passes over a frantic finale. Rea says he has no qualms being beaten for the first time this year and was happy to secure Kawasaki a second straight one-two finish.
“We made a small improvement in the bike set-up and from ten laps to go I feel I had a much higher pace than Tom,” Rea said. “I really wanted to win and I tried two or three times but to win a race against Tom when he is strong, and defending very well, you have to go really deep.
“Massive credit to him; he did a good job today and beat us flat out. It is good for Kawasaki to have a one-two although I would prefer to be the guy in front. Fair play to Tom because I was over my head to win the race yesterday but today I tried my best and got beat. I am sure it was a nice show to watch.”
Having collected 95 points from a maximum of 100 over the opening two rounds, Rea has extended his lead in the WSBK riders' championship to 29 points after Sykes leapfrogged Honda's Michael van der Mark into second place.
“We increased our championship lead from Phillip Island and it has been a good day, but I just wanted to win the race. To get beaten is really great for my motivation.”