WSBK » 21 June 2009
Rea secures debut victory
Jonathan Rea has become only the fourth different World Superbike Championship winner in 2009 after a daring last lap manoeuvre saw him snatch a maiden victory in the second race at Misano.
The Northern Irishman was embroiled in a thrilling race-long exchange with Ducati Xerox duo Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga, but while the Italian looked to have stolen the initiative when he moved ahead with only a handful of laps remaining, Rea did not let his rival pull away.
Primed for attack, Rea launched his assault at the beginning of the final lap, succeeding in passing Fabrizio at the right-hander before resisting pressure from his rival to the chequered flag.
Prior to that, Rea had led the way for the majority of the race, the Ten Kate Honda man getting away in a leading pack that initially consisted of early leader Haga, Fabrizio and Carlos Checa.
Race one winner Ben Spies, however, looked down and out at the end of the opening lap when, arm aloft, he appeared to be slowing down to retire. Dropping to the back of the field with a slipping clutch, the American did his best get it working again, but was left with plenty of work to do to salvage points back from Haga.
His cause wasn't being aided by Haga's lead, the Japanese rider surging up from sixth position on the grid to move ahead into the opening turns, followed by Rea. However, the Ten Kate Honda – resplendent with its distinctive new Ohlins suspension – was proving a match for Haga, Rea duly snatching the lead for the first time this season on lap four.
Despite his attempts to respond, Haga instead found himself down to third on lap six when Fabrizio pulled a move on him too. With the pair swapping positions twice on lap ten and then lap 15, Rea was working hard to put some air between himself and the feuding team-mates.
However, Fabrizio, now safe in second position again, was now proving to be a significant threat to Rea, quickly latching onto the back of the Honda before diving beneath him at the tight second turn on lap 17.
Fabrizio's hopes of disappearing into the distance for a second-career victory, however, wouldn't materialise as both Rea and Haga kept him under intense pressure, so much so that Rea momentarily re-passed the Italian with just four laps remaining, only for Fabrizio to squeeze his Ducati back through.
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