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Laguna WorldSBK: No title thoughts for Rea just yet...

Chaz Davies may have been the fastest guy in WorldSBK Superpole, and then the lap record holder early in race one, but Jonathan Rea was the man who had the last laugh each time out at Laguna Seca.

Two convincing wins, the second by just over five seconds, were master classes in their own ways. In race two Rea reeled off 1’23 laps like a mobile metronome, and he knew that was the secret – setting a pace only he could to break free out front.

“Most of that race I was able to be in the 1’23s, and that was the key today,” he told bikesportnews.com. “It was a kind of strange feeling doing 1’23s, then backing off the gas and still staying there, and pulling away. It was just a weekend that does not happen every time.”


According to Rea, the difference between his top Kawasaki performances and the other Ninja ZX-10RR runners, on a bike with fewer revs than anybody else of the same engine format, are due to the people behind it all.

“The difference is me and my crew,” he said. “The relationship we have with the engineers in Japan, just trying and working really, really hard. The grab line for this season is ‘NinjaSpirit’. Everything is going against us this season, and that spirit of never give up, keep pushing, nothing revolutionary in what we are doing. We are changing the balance of the bike, the suspension. It is like we are fighting with our hands behind out back but we are making it work. I have such a clever bunch of crew in my corner, and clever bunch of engineers. So it is the NinjaSpirit.”

Rea, and his crew, changed some things before a cooler race two on Sunday, but not his original tyre choice.

“I used the same tyre combination in race two because we changed the bike quite a lot. The balance of the bike today we were not putting too much pressure on the front. Yesterday, stopping the bike I was putting too much energy through the front tyre and overheating it, and in the race I had nothing left. Today I had much more margin at the end of the race to be smooth and consistent.”

It was perfect as a winning display but there is still room for improvement, according to the three times World Champion.

“The only place I really struggled when the tyre went off a little bit was in turn 2/3, the double apex left,” said Rea. “When you are going in there you are doing a lot of trail braking. When the front tyre was so hot that was the only area of the track I really struggled. From the engine brake side the last quarter of the race I was just struggling to get stopped in the same way and use the same body language entering the corner. Adjusting a few set-ups on my buttons and dashboard I was able to generate a little e bit of help going in, and after that it was able to manage the gap.”

Starting from the third row in race two is never the easy way to try and win, and at Laguna, it is a particularly difficult place to pass at.

“I got such a bad start, actually, but made an OK job of going over the hill,” said Rea about the opening salvoes of race two. “Then Chaz like opened up everybody in turn two, and I just followed him through! I wasn’t checking who was on the right and if somebody was closing in, but I just followed him. I put myself in good track position.

“When I got through and Eugene was in the front there was quite a substantial gap then, probably more than a second. He was in a really good rhythm, so I was in no urgency to arrive. I really just chipped away. Once I arrived and plotted the pass it was just trying to concentrate on myself.”


Now 75 points ahead of Davies, a full three race wins worth, Rea has no intention of relaxing his push, but maybe he will be able to relatively soon.

“You cannot be relaxed,” he affirmed, “but after Misano, if it is still the same kind of gap, then we can start to, in your brain, think about the championship. I always try to step myself from getting excited and wait for the summer break. Anything can happen but it is nicer to have 75 points in the pocket than not. So I will just keep doing what I am doing and minimise mistakes. At this point mistakes are going to cost us a lot. So I need to try and stay clean and healthy and fight to the end.”

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