Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea got his bid for a record WorldSBK title triple off to the perfect start today at Phillip Island after storming to the race win ahead of fellow British riders Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes.
Rea said squeaked home ahead of Aruba’s Ducati’s Davies by 0.042s and decalred the opening 22 lap race ‘strange’ as the pace was faster and the Castletown man had to play a long game when it came to strategy.
“The temperature rose so much that it was important to try the long game. While I didn’t like that strategy to win, to stay and to roll off the pace a little bit was important. In the end we got it done,” Rea told Bikesportnew.com at the track.
Rea, who now has four race wins at the Island ,was worried about Davies in the last handful of laps as he could see the Welshman in the big screens around the circuit.
“Chaz was sitting comfortably behind,” explained Rea. “I didn’t want to get any surprises in the last laps. He came past into turn one, but I managed to cut it back and have track position and the played defensive for the rest of the laps.
“I’m really happy to win because everyone comes here to try and be clever and to try and to come away with good strong results. But everyone also wants to win. We managed to pick up those 25 points which are so valuable at the start of the year.”
Rea did make a special mention and credit to Kawasaki as they have been working so hard in the off season.
“I have a good feeling with the Kawasaki ZX-10RR now. On top of that my whole Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) have been working hard and our supporters such as Showaand Akira have been pushing as well. Personally I would like to thank all of those guys. This race win today is for them.”
Phillip Island is like a second home race for Rea as wife Tatia was born here. So what does it mean for him to win again at the seaside circuit?
“It’s really nice to win here at Phillip Island as I have so much support, which means a lot. I base myself in Cowes in the off season, so to have family and familiar faces around the paddock is really nice.
“But aside from that, as I said it’s really nice to start the year off by scoring twenty-five points. Hopefully we can build the momentum from here.”