Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has left Donington Park in an upbeat frame of mind despite missing out on wins after extending his championship points advantage and continuing to improve his feeling with the new Kawasaki ZX-10R.
The Northern Irish rider looked set for a frantic fight for victory with team-mate Tom Sykes in race two and with four laps to go he passed Sykes at down the inside at the Melbourne hairpin, but his lead lasted just one corner after he hit a false neutral, the same issue which plagued him in race one, and ran wide at Goddards which let Sykes back through.
Despite aiming to get back on the rear wheel of Sykes he struggled to match the pace of his team-mate over the final laps and was forced to settle for second place to go with his third in the opener.
Rea has now gone on without a win since his double victory at Assen but extendsd his championship points lead to 56 points. He is also thrilled with the improvement in the feeling on the new ZX-10R after experimenting with the balance of the bike.
“It was the same as yesterday, I got a false neutral so obviously I am a little bit frustrated,” Rea said. “But honestly, congratulations to Tom. In the end of the race I did not have much for Tom.
“I feel my bike was working really good especially as we have been working close with Kawasaki and all the crew to get the bike suited to me. It seems we are getting there now.
“In the last few races we have defined the engine character that I really like, so now it is the balance of the bike that seems to be working.
“To be so close to Tom, in a circuit that he is so strong at, is good because he is riding really strongly now. I am happy for that and happy to come here and make a big margin in my championship lead as well. That is the priority - but it would have been really nice to cap it off with a win in race two.
“My bike was feeling really good but near the end I just suffered a little bit with arm pump in my right arm.”
Rea, who is on his longest win-less streak since joining Kawasaki at the start of 2015, will now look to return to the top step of the rostrum at Misano after he and Sykes shared a win apiece at the circuit last year.