Rea was unable to break away from the pack to secure his 64th WorldSBK victory
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has taken his second win of the weekend at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli after a scorcher of a race around the Rimini track. Race two in the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round provided a 21 lap thriller, with countless overtakes and the battle going down to the wire under the sunny skies. With all riders being forced to dig deep to hold their position to the line, it was Rea who came out on top, beating Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) with three laps to go.
Just one race away from a two month summer break and everyone eager to impress, the opening laps provided edge of your seat racing, which never stopped. Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) made a blistering run at the lights, flying into first place, but a technical issue ended the Spaniard’s race just two laps later. Meanwhile, Rea jumped straight up to fifth, but was then caught up with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) on the second lap.
With van der Mark making the most of the open track ahead, Rea was left to fight through, with both factory Ducati bikes in his sights. Rea’s duel with Davies saw the defending champion coming out in front after an ambitious move through Turn 14. Then, with both Rea and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) finding their way past Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), the pair engaged in an electric battle all through laps seven and eight, trading places several times for second.
Ultimately, Rea prevailed again, and began his hunt of the race leader, now over a second ahead and twelve laps around Misano to go. The Kawasaki rider finally caught van der Mark with five laps to go – and so did Melandri, hanging on to the ZX-10RR’s pace. The trio went into the closing laps with less than half a second separating them. With the Ducati suddenly breathing down both their necks, Rea chose to make his move with three laps to go. A feint down Turn 1, a stunning pass down the inside through 2, and making it stick on the exit from the Variante del Parco: Rea first, and perhaps his hardest win of the season secured.
While he couldn’t fight back in the remaining turns, van der Mark had just enough left in the tank to defend his position from Melandri, taking second place at the flag and guaranteeing a fourth consecutive weekend with a Yamaha bike on the podium. Melandri couldn’t repeat his phenomenal win from last season’s Race Two, but a return to the rostrum in third will have left both the Ducati rider and the home fans ecstatic after a few difficult races.
Davies finally crossed the line in fourth, not quite able to consistently match the front pace. A difficult end after a promising start for the Welshman, who now enters the summer break 89 points behind Rea. He finished ahead of Sykes in fifth.
After a race to forget yesterday, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) bounced back brilliantly in sixth despite having to start from the back of row 4. He endured a late charge from Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) in seventh, who managed to beat his teammate Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) this time around, with the Irish rider finishing eighth.
Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) came back from his early crash in yesterday’s event with a ninth position, with Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) closing the top ten. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) was the best independent rider in Rimini, taking eleventh.
SBK® is back in two months’ time, with Round 10 of the championship kicking off in Portimao!
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“I was really hard work, I gave 200% – as much as I could! It was really difficult coming through traffic, the bikes were very evenly matched – the Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati – so you had to be aggressive to stick a pass. But also I woke up this morning with a stiff neck, I spent a lot of time with my physio and clinca, I want to thank the guys who spent time to give me some sort of mobility in my neck. But most of all, all race I was thinking about William Dunlop, I want to dedicate this race to him, and all my thoughts are with all his family because I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”
P2 – Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
“I had a bad start, followed Xavi for a couple of laps but I think he had a problem and I passed him. I tried to do my own pace and I felt better than yesterday in some areas, in others I didn’t feel as good. I struggled to keep the pace a little bit and to keep it consistent, I manage to pull a gap when Jonny and Marco were fighting. In the end Jonny came close and I tried to be as smooth as possible. In the last two laps I could stay right behind him but I’m really happy with the second place today, and really happy with the points for the championship.”
P3 – Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“It was a very difficult weekend, we had a lot of problems with the weather on Friday so we missed one session. And with the front tyre in race one we struggled a lot, and luckily we got a lot of information for today and the team worked hard, so the result was much better. The podium is the best result we could get, I tried to overtake van der Mark but I was pushing too hard on the front tyre so it was difficult, we tried to give a good show to the people.”