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Rea Scores Race One Podium
Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured second place in Race One at the Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto for his 24th podium of the season. After finishing Race One in ninth place, while riding with a fractured right hand, Alex Lowes (KRT) did not compete in Race Two.
In bright sunshine, the WorldSBK Championship as a whole observed a minute’s silence before the races took place in memory of Dean Berta Vinales, who had suffered fatal injuries in the WorldSSP300 race at Jerez on Saturday.
With no WorldSBK or WorldSSP races on Saturday the decision was made to restart racing on Sunday, under a new schedule that replaced the ten-lap Tissot-Superpole Race at 11.00 with a full distance 20-lap Race One.
The WorldSBK action was completed by Race Two, which started off at 14.00 and was run in increased air and track temperatures, again for 20 laps.
In Tissot Superpole qualifying on Saturday Alex had come within a few thousandths of a second of taking his first pole position as a Kawasaki rider, but he finally lined up second, one place ahead of Jonathan on the front row.
Rea and championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu fought out a long battle in Race One, as Rea led his rival across the line for 13 laps. Razgatlioglu passed Jonathan on the second attempt and went on to win by 1.225 seconds.
Lowes was unable to hold off the attacks from other riders under braking, but he made the most of his situation to finish ninth in Race One. He would miss Race Two, after much thought and consultation, and he will now focus on his recovery before the next race at Portimao next week.
In the second WorldSBK race of the day, Rea again battled at the front but without the rear grip he needed he had to give up places and was in sixth place for some time before moving up one position to finish fifth.
Jonathan is second in the championship rankings, with Razgatlioglu on 449 points and Jonathan on 429. Alex is sixth overall, with 199 points so far.
Portimao in Portugal provides the host venue for the last European round of the season, to be held between 1-3 October, before WorldSBK heads off to take part in its season-ending long-haul races.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was quite hard work today, especially in Race Two, but I think I can stand back tonight and actually be quite satisfied with our day’s work. I didn’t expect to be so strong in Race One here in Jerez. From the first session on Friday I felt quite good with the bike and the tires, and I could fight until the last laps with Toprak in race one; it was very close. That was a positive for me. In Race Two the temperature had risen and of course it was like in Barcelona, I experienced the same type of problems with the soft tire. There was little grip and it was very hard to stop the bike and go into the corner, and this was the difference. Normally we would put in a soft tire on the weekend and the difference in lap time would be much faster. But today we didn’t have it. We need to check why.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “In practice I had been riding and adjusting my style to the strength I have in my hand. In Race One when I was around the other bikes at the start I just could not brake as late as I wanted. It was easy for people to attack and pass me. In the middle of the race, when I was by myself and just taking the lines that I wanted to take, the pace was OK. But to battle and fight hard at the front, which is our target, it was not possible. There was a short turnaround for us today for the second race and with some information from the first race, we decided that the best thing to do was get a week’s rest before the next round in Portimao.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will take no further part in the 2021 WorldSBK season after a wrist injury he suffered in the Magny Cours round had worsened in the last few days, and will require further surgery and recovery time.
Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) finished Race One in 17th place but retired in Race Two after crashing and trying to restart. Lachlan Epis (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) was 19th and then 18th, after having to enter the pits and then rejoin the action each race. Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) did not race at Jerez after the tragic events of Saturday as he is the late Dean Berta Vinales’ cousin.