Jonathan Rea won the second of today’s two eighth round World Superbike championship races at Misano in Italy – his first win in his debut season.
It was a stunning bounce back after the 22-year-old was dogged by bad luck in the opening 24-lap encounter at the 4.2km Misano circuit. In wet conditions, Rea’s number one machine developed a fuel problem on the sighting lap and he was given a ride back to the pits by his Ten Kate team-mate, Ryuichi Kiyonari.
However, both riders were given a ride-through penalty for contravening regulations, a punishment compounded by Rea being denied access to the grid on his spare machine. He was forced to start the warm-up lap from pit lane and the race from the back of the grid.
Rea got a scorching start and was in tenth place by the end of lap one, despite a clash with Kiyonari which finished the Japanese rider’s race through a broken gear shift and left a hole in Rea’s right foot from his team-mate’s footpeg. He moved up to sixth place before pitting for his ride-through penalty. With the track then drying, riders began coming into pit lane to change to dry tyres, Rea changing on lap twelve before setting a succession of fastest laps and finishing in an impressive seventh place.
With the circuit dry, Rea’s performance in race two was even more impressive. Starting from second place on the grid, the Northern Irishman slipped past Noriyuki Haga for the lead on lap four. Haga and his Ducati team-mate, Michel Fabrizio, each took turns at the front later in the race, but Rea dived past the Italian early in the final lap and held him at bay to take a stunning victory.
Rea’s Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Carlos Checa, took 11th place in the rain affected first outing and posted an impressive fifth place in race two, after chasing Rea and the two Ducatis for much of the race.
Jonathan Rea Speaks… (7th and 1st)
"I just want to thank the whole crew and the Andreani group for working so hard to help make this happen. It really bodes well for us all for the rest of the season. We knew we had the pace this weekend but race one was a pretty bad situation. I needed to start with scrubbed tyres in the wet but the problem on the sighting lap finished that plan. With the penalties and brand new tyres and having destroyed my footrest and rear brake in the crash with Kiyo, it was difficult, so seventh was about as good as we could have hoped for. Race two was great and, as soon as I knew I had the pace to match the two Ducatis I was comfortable. I tried a few different lines in the closing laps to probe and find the best way through. When I got past Fabrizio, it was pretty straightforward. It’s really nice to win here in Italy, in Ducati’s back yard, where we thought it would be quite hard. But we’ve come leaps and bounds recently and hopefully we can fight at the front in every race."
Carlos Checa Speaks… (11th and 5th)
"I am actually quite positive, even though we did not have the perfect set-up and had some problems with movement in the rear of the bike. With those problems, I was struggling to match the pace of Jonathan and the two Ducatis. It’s been a very busy weekend with new suspension in the bike and we had a few things that we wanted to test this morning. However, the wet conditions made that impossible. Considering the big changes we have been working with this weekend, I think we can take a lot of positives to Donington next weekend."
Ronald ten Kate Speaks… (Team Manager)
"It’s been a very up and down day and a long road to success this season, with some difficult development steps with the CBR1000RR. Although we still have a few more plans and ideas that we want to try, Jonathan’s win today was a major breakthrough. I’d like to thank him and the other riders, the whole crew and Honda for staying loyal to us, and a special thanks to Andreani Group for all their hard work this week. Although the championship may be out of our reach this season, our intentions for the rest of the year are quite clear – winning!"
2009 World Superbike championship, round eight – Misano, Italy (4.226km, 2 x 24 laps) results
1 Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 45’02.773ss
2 Shane Byrne (GBR) Ducati +7.931s
3 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati +11.836
4 Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati +11.886
7 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +35.772
11 Carlos Checa (ESP) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +1’04.285
1 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 39’11.204s
2 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati +0.063s
3 Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Ducati +0.457
4 Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati +3.635
5 Carlos Checa (ESP) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +4.460
Championship points after eight of 14 rounds
Haga 292, Spies 244, Fabrizio 237, Rea 167, Biaggi 135, Leon Haslam (GBR) Honda 134, Tom Sykes (GBR) Yamaha 130, Checa 109, Smrz 108, Ryuichi Kiyonari (JPN) Ten Kate Honda Racing 98.