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Battling Rea Takes Another Podium
After securing third place in the opening Motorland Aragon race on Saturday 23 September Kawasaki Racing Team rider Jonathan Rea was second and then fourth in Sunday’s two races. Florian Marino, standing-in for injured team regular Alex Lowes, was 16th in the Superpole Race then scored a point for 15th place in Race Two.
After another two typically wholehearted race performances Jonathan Rea ended his weekend with another WorldSBK podium to his credit and a strong fourth place despite issues with ultimate grip and traction in Race Two.
Starting from pole position Rea set a new race lap record in the ten lap Superpole Race, with his 1:49.028 tantalizingly close to the magic 1:48 bracket on race tyres. In Superpole qualifying, when using softer tyre options, Rea had also set a new track best of 1:47.73 as he secured his 42nd career pole position.
Rea was a narrow but convincing leader of the Sunday morning Tissot Superpole race for nine of the ten laps. He had championship leader Alvaro Bautista (the eventual race winner) and final third place rider Toprak Razgatlioglu for close company almost throughout. Bautista only got past Rea on the long back straight, with Jonathan not quite close enough to attempt a re-passing maneuver into the long last corner. Rea was still only 0.179 seconds behind Bautista at the flag.
The second race of the day, and the third of the weekend, saw Rea denied a potential podium spot by first Andrea Locatelli (although he would eventually DNF) and then Race One winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Bautista won both Sunday races, with Razgatlioglu second in Race Two and Rinaldi third.
Rea could not quite find the pace over the whole 18-lap race that he expected to have, possibly because it was run in slightly hotter air and track temperatures than the other Motorland races. He lost grip from his front tyre as well as the rear, which made the final laps particularly challenging.
In his second race day with the official Kawasaki Racing Team regular test rider Marino was just one place from a points score in the ten lap Superpole race, but he moved up one position to take his first point in Race Two.
Florian also found some front traction issues in the long race but was still able to gain one place with two laps to go to make sure he would earn a pleasing championship point.
In the overall standings Rea is third, some 53 points ahead of the rider in fourth place. The recovering Alex Lowes is ninth overall and Marino’s point today puts him 23rd overall after just one weekend of competition.
The next round of the WorldSBK championship - the penultimate round - will take place at Portimao in Portugal in a few days time, between 29 September to 1 October.