Jonathan Rea accepts that against Alvaro Bautista’s current pace on the Racing Ducati V4 R second place was the maximum he could target in Thailand.

The reigning World Superbike champion looked powerless to stop Bautista using the V4 R’s outright top speed and acceleration advantage to charge to another hat-trick of race wins, while the pair clashed on track in race one, only to see the Spanish rider maintain his 100% winning start to the season.

With Rea finishing every race so far this season in second place behind Bautista, the Kawasaki rider feels he was able to get the most out of his ZX-10RR package as he plots a fightback over the start of the European part of the season.

“The best we could hope for today was a brace of second places and we managed to achieve that, albeit with a lot of pressure from Alex [Lowes] in the final race,” Rea said. “He kept really pushing, as he had in the sprint race, but I just had that little bit extra in the end of race three to go away.

“I want to thank my team for giving me a good bike this weekend and there is always some work to do to improve the package. I felt this weekend we struggled a little bit with front end stability, especially when the front was moving a little bit in that second part of the final race, in the sectors where I was strong.

“Behind my visor I was giving it 110% especially in those early laps to try and keep in the slipstream as long as I could. As soon as I lost that it was back to managing my own race. I am taking home 49 points again and we will try to build on that in Europe.”

Despite losing out to Bautista, Rea is just 26 points behind the Spaniard after the opening two rounds meaning one DNF coupled with the Northern Irish rider winning in a full distance race would see the pair split by just one point.

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