Jonathan Rea says he can head to the final round of the World Superbike championship in Qatar with the pressure off despite narrowly missing out on clinching the world title at Jerez.
The Kawasaki rider reversed the race one result on title rival Tom Sykes to take second place behind the dominant Chaz Davies to keep hold of a 48-point lead in the riders' championship.
With a maximum of 50 points available left to score at Qatar Rea mathematically just needs two points to seal the title, even if Sykes takes a double victory in two weeks, and despite missing out on race wins he is thrilled to stay on course in the title race.
“I am satisfied with the championship gap. We can go to Qatar in a relaxed mood and look to pick up the target there,” Rea said. “To date we have had nine race wins and done a very good job.”
Reflecting on race two at Jerez, Rea says despite finding set-up gains with the ZX-10R he still struggled to find comfortable grip at the Spanish circuit which enabled Davies to escape up the road during both races.
“I struggled with traction front and rear today and Jerez is a low grip track,” he said. “As soon as the grip went off I was starting to struggle a lot, although not like yesterday. We changed a lot on the bike for Sunday, including the engine character. I had confidence with my team that it was in the right direction and I think we made one step forward.”