Before Rea’s famous Race One win and Haslam’s fifth podium of 2019, the Superpole contest – held in wet then drying conditions – saw Rea just miss out on pole position. With Jonathan in second place on the starting grid Haslam started alongside him in third position, after his Superpole push saw him get onto the front row.
The Donington layout, some of which had been resurfaced, demanded the use of wet tyres in the opening 23-lap race, and delivered tricky conditions throughout.
Getting cleanly away Rea took an astonishing early lead of 2.8 seconds after one lap and 4.842 seconds after two. Haslam was trying to push past Tom Sykes in the early laps, only to be passed in turn by Loris Baz.
Haslam reasserted himself in third and then managed his position from then on, as Rea ran away out front to win by over 11 seconds from Sykes. Leon, with a clear cushion behind, was 23 seconds from Rea but a comfortable podium finisher once again.
Rea takes a nine-point championship lead into the next two races at Donington, on Sunday 7 July. There will be a ten-lap Tissot Superpole race, and then Race Two, over a full 23-laps.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I missed my pit board on my first lap but on the second lap I saw that I had quite a big gap already. I have been riding the Kawasaki for quite a few years now, and although we do not get to ride in the wet a lot, the wet setup is pretty good. Even in the change of conditions – completely wet, half wet or a drying track – it seems to be a bike that you can extract a lot of stability out of. So you can stop it well and then use your body weight to get through the corners. I knew if I could arrive at the limit of the package quite early I could take a gamble while the rest of the other guys got up to speed. At the end of the race I thought I should keep pushing on as I knew if there was a lapse of concentration it would be very easy for something to go wrong in these conditions. So I kept going right until the last lap and got it done. But it felt like a really long race! There is still a long way to go but after the Jerez sprint race the gap from the lead to us was 61 points. Now it has flipped over. It is racing and anything can happen.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “It wasn’t the start that determined my race although I did get held up a little bit in the first two laps with Tom. As soon as I started to push like I had been doing in practice and qualifying in the rain, I did not have the same feeling. To be honest I felt like I struggled at times today. I got a little bit caught up with Baz and that let Tom get away. The lap times I could do when I got a clear lap were not so bad, but I felt like I was pushing the limit too much to get that kind of lap time. So I backed it down and got third. From quite early on in the race I was trying to just manage it and bring it home on the podium.”
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) had his best ride of the season in sixth place, equalling his career best WorldSBK race result.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) felt a lack of grip compared to his expectations during the wet race and finished 13th of the 14 finishers today. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) had a fast fall, without injury, and no-scored today.
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 20, Wins 5, Podiums 17, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 76 (61 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 151 (109 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 19 (15 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 20, Wins 0, Podiums 5, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 44 (6 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 132 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 405 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 84 – second overall