Rea Takes A Second Imola Podium
Jonathan Rea stood on the podium in Italy for a second time this weekend after taking third place in Race Two at Imola. The race was shortened by four laps because of extreme temperatures affecting the local area.
After advice from the championship’s medical authorities and consultation with the riders WorldSBK Race Two was reduced to 15 laps, rather than the planned 19. The heatwave that had affected the whole weekend intensified again on Sunday, with official air temperatures reaching 37°C.
Rea would take his chance to fight for the podium again in the final Imola race and eventually finished third, just losing the required pace to sustain a challenge to Axel Bassani for second in the final laps. Jonathan’s latest podium finish saw him narrow the gap to third place to just seven points, after seven of the 12 championship rounds have now been completed.
In the 10-lap Superpole race held earlier in the morning Rea came within 0.2 seconds of the podium but he could not quite get past early race leader Andrea Locatelli at the end. Jonathan was fourth across the line, scoring strong championship points from a third row starting spot.
The next round of the series will take place at the Autodrom Most, in the Czech Republic, between 28 and 30 July. After that there will be a long summer break, with action restarting in France at Magny Cours between September 8-10.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The Superpole Race seemed like our best chance to do a good job. But starting from seventh was not the best way to give yourself the best opportunity. I did make a good start but just didn’t have the pace. I was fighting with Locatelli and he was not making any mistakes, doing a really good job. There was a point in Race Two when I thought maybe we could fight a little bit more, to be honest. I wasn’t sure of Axel Bassani’s tyre choice but I was quite sure the option for our bike was good. We knew most of the competitors would be on the SCX. When I was there after a few laps I thought, ‘maybe I have hit the jackpot with this tyre? Maybe this could be for me?’ But at around three-quarters of race distance I really struggled with the front of the bike and also changing direction. In the first part of corner exits, I was just pushing the tyre too much, especially through turns two and three. The riders ahead were accelerating off the corners a little bit better. But I am happy. Happy with our points haul and this was probably our best weekend of the season, with two podiums in the long races.”