Jonathan Rea extended his championship lead in the FIM Superbike World Championship after two tough race wins under the sun on the new Ninja ZX-10RR.
In the ten-lap Tissot Superpole race, held one day after Rea had finished third in Race One, he was on top form again to take his third win of the 2021 season.
Rea, like his team-mate Alex Lowes, had chosen an SC0 standard rear tyre for the ten lap race, an unusual choice as the SCX was specifically developed for this intense sprint competition. The choice worked to perfection for Rea, who finally motored away from his rivals on the ‘X’ rear option, leading the final five laps, and winning from Toprak Razgatlioglu by 0.690 seconds.
In the Superpole race Lowes started from tenth after being caught in the wrong sector of the track during a yellow flag incident in Superpole on Saturday, losing his third best qualifying time as a result. Having started from tenth place again in the Superpole race Lowes fought through speedily and assuredly to secure sixth place.
In the final 21-lap race of the Estoril weekend Rea was involved in a fight for the win with other riders for a time, and finally Scott Redding. Redding fell shortly after Rea had passed him on lap 15. Rea kept up a strong pace until the end, again on an SC0 tyre choice, to win from Chaz Davies by 2.787 seconds. Rea has now won four 2021 races and increased his career WorldSBK victory total to 103.
In the second race Lowes started from the second row thanks to his good showing in the short Superpole race earlier in the day. He made the most of his better starting position and finished fourth, just under three seconds from the podium places.
In the championship standings Rea has 110 points, Razgatlioglu 75, Redding 72 and Lowes 62.
After Estoril, WorldSBK race action resumes for round three at Misano in Italy, June 11-13.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “They are never easy but race two was fun, to be honest. I had a proper moment with Rinaldi in T4 and could have been down and then Laverty came through with good pace. I thought I was in trouble because the majority of the grid had the SCX tyre, and I opted for the SC0. I really believed in it, to be honest. But after those three or four laps I wasn’t convinced. But, once I got a bit of clear track I could see that Toprak and Chaz were not going away, and I just tried to keep the gap. Then all of a sudden Toprak got a long lap penalty and that is like a free pass for track position. He is hard to pass. Scott was in a really solid rhythm but I was catching him in sectors two, three and four, but I was struggling a little bit in sector one. Step-by-step I got there. I was pretty happy to be able to stay there in the slipstream. I could feel Scott trying to pass in Turn Four and then I saw on my pitboard that he was out. Unfortunate for him but it gave me a bit of breathing space and let me concentrate on my race. Staying in the mid-1’37 lap times was pretty tough out there today because the track temperature was super-high. Kudos to Pirelli because obviously the SC0 tyre is working in quite a wide range, and also kudos to my crew because they made amazing decisions all weekend. To have one podium and two wins means it has been an incredible weekend.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We made a good recovery today but the Superpole race was hard. Starting from tenth on the grid, and the first corner here being so small, it is difficult to make up a lot of places. Starting from the fourth row was tough, but I got on the back of the lead group, plus Michael Ruben Rinaldi. I felt a little bit faster than him but I could not pass him anywhere on the track. I got a second row start for the second race and that was also tough. In the hotter conditions I did not manage the SCO as well as Jonathan did. The last part of the race, when Razgatlioglu passed me again, I thought I am not fast enough to stay with him today. I wanted to be smart and get some points. I was in a decent position so it was a pretty good two Sunday races, a lot of information and a lot better than we managed here last year.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) fell in the Superpole race and was 14th in race two. He is 15th overall with 12 points. Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki Isaac Vinales was 17th and then 15th today and is now 19th overall. Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) placed 19th and 18th on Sunday in Estoril, his team-mate Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) no-scored in each Sunday race.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 6, Wins 4, Podiums 6, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 103 (88 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 191 (149 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 29 (25 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 6, Wins 0, Podiums 3, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 27 (7 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 162 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 463 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 94 – second overall