Jonathan Rea says he feared his Misano double victory would be wrecked after struggling to cut through the pack during race two.

The reigning World Superbike champion saw his trademark charge through the order from the race two reverse grid somewhat stutter against his rivals having been involved in numerous on-track battles on his way up the field.

After moving up to second place at mid-race distance, Rea set out reeling in early leader Michael van der Mark, who had built a 1.5-second lead, and despite hunting down the Pata Yamaha rider with eight laps to go he found no way past the Dutchman.

But Rea maximised his opportunity when van der Mark ran wide at the final corner at the end of lap 18 and cut underneath the Yamaha rider through Turns 2 and 3 to take the lead with three laps to go.

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Rea was relived to grab a second consecutive double victory heading into the long World Superbike summer break after a hard-fought win in race two at the Italian circuit.

“That was a super-super hard race. Yesterday I controlled the race. I could lead from the front, make my rhythm and go away,” Rea said. “Today I could not make that in the beginning and I spent so much tyre and energy coming through the traffic.

“The bikes are so evenly matched now it is so hard to make a pass and make it stick. It was a hard job to track down Mikey and when I arrived I was starting to panic a little bit with five laps to go. I wanted to be in the lead by that stage and make a gap.

“I was worried about getting through because he was not making mistakes, but then he ran into the last corner a little bit deep, and I was able to pull alongside and outbrake him in T1. I made a lot of passes in that race and it was really hard work.”

Rea has extended his World Superbike championship lead to 92 points with just four rounds remaining. The series now has a two-month break before returning to action at Portimao on September 14-16.

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