WorldSBK: Jonathan Rea Extends Championship Lead in WSBK Race One.
KRT WorldSBK Team’s Jonathan Rea has taken the win in a lights-to-flag performance in the opening round of the WorldSBK weekend at Catalunya.
Sensational Jonathan Rea continued his push for the 2020 WorldSBK championship in race one at Catalunya, giving no opportunity for chasing man Scott Redding, who was not able to get within 1.4 seconds of the championship leader, and crossed the line within a frustrating distance of the five-time World Champion, regrettably losing a crucial 5 points in his championship quest, increasing the deficit to 41 points.
Aruba.It Ducati’s Scott Redding begun the race from 8th place after not being able to get to grips with his Panigale V4 in Superpole earlier in the day, which preceded race one of the weekend. Scott didn’t let his qualifying woes get to him though, he exited the turn 1 and 2 chicane in third after producing an excellent launch to catapult ahead of the field, further gaining positions on the two factory Pata Yamaha boys, Michael Van Der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu after the pair nearly ended eachother’s races after tripping over eachother into turn 1, pushing Toprak back to 8th and ending his challenges early on.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi aboard the Team Go Eleven Ducati, backed by the Italian Factory, begun his race on the softer tyre, owing to his weight. He tried to follow the Kawasaki man early on but it appeared to be in vain as Rea opened a 1 second lead as the Italian seemed to have problems with the softer compound rear-tyre. Rinaldi was then passed by fellow Ducati compatriot Scott Redding into turn 1 on lap seven of the race, from then the Italian was swallowed up, dropping back to seventh after a last lap pass by Toprak Razgatlioglu after a rapid tyre drop-off. He will attempt to make-up for his difficult race in tomorrow’s Superpole race, a 10 lap dash, which begins at 11:00 AM local time.
Jonas Folger made his debut, beginning his day difficultly after suffering a technical issue in Superpole Qualifying and having to begin his maiden WorldSBK race from last-place on the grid. The German faught his way through, battling with veterans such as Honda’s Leon Haslam in a battle for 9th Position, which included this year’s race winter at Philip Island, Alex Lowes, teammate to race winner and championship elect Jonathan Rea. Folger would most undoubtedly have turned heads in the paddock today as he reminded the world of his potential as he eyes his return to full-time Motorcycle Racing.
Alvaro Bautista of the HRC Team, joined Michael Ruben Rinaldi in opting for the softer construction rear-tyre, beginning the race strongly battling with Factory Ducati rider Chaz Davies, who seemed to make a step forward on his Qualifying struggles, which aided the Welshman to battle higher up the field, helping him to preserve his tyre in the race, owing to him having to not make up on lost ground. Bautista came to blows mid-race with Pata Yamaha’s Michael Van Der Mark, the pair battled ruthlessly for three laps but the battle came to a halt with the Spaniard running his Honda very wide into turn-one losing two positions as his X Compound of tyre seemed to suffer the same effects of Rinaldi, despite the track being cloud covered in an autumnly Barcelona.
The American, Garrett Gerloff has had a stand-out weekend as far. “I feel like this track was made for me” he commented while speaking to on-site media after experiencing a positive Friday FP1 and FP2.
The Satellite Yamaha rider begun his Saturday well, battling with the German, Jonas Folger before the late stages of the race as he then put +3 seconds into the chasing pack crossing the line in eighth, beating well established riders such as Leon Haslam, Alex Lowes and fellow R1 pilot, Loris Baz of Ten Kate Racing.
World Superbike action will resume on Sunday with the ten-lap sprint commencing at 10:00 AM United Kingdom time, and 11:00 AM local time, preceding race two at 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM local time, live on free-to-air channel Quest TV and Eurosport 2.
Featured Image Credit: Johnathan Rea