Island Double Gives Rea 40 Superbike Wins

Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) joined an exclusive club with his 40th career FIM Superbike World Championship race win today while Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) joined the leading group in the race for a time, but finished sixth. In the championship points Rea leads with a perfect 50 while Sykes has 26, and is ranked third overall.

In warm and sunny conditions the second Phillip Island race saw a small piece of history being made on two main fronts. First of all race one front row winner Rea and third placed Sykes had to start race two from the third row on their Ninja ZX-10RRs, under the new championship regulations. Sykes took over seventh grid place and Rea ninth, in another new twist to the 2017 season. Then, Rea secured his historic 40th race win at the end of the 22-laps.

Rea, able to get into the lead as early as lap six despite starting from the third row, raced for the win from then on, holding off Chaz Davies over the finish line for the second time in two days, this time by a margin of 0.025 seconds. Jonathan has now won five of the six most recent Phillip Island races, on a Kawasaki.

This latest race win gave Rea his magical 40th career victory; a level only reached and then later passed by three other riders in WorldSBK history. They are Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss and Noriyuki Haga. Rea, the 2015 and 2016 champion, also scored the Superpole win on Saturday for an almost perfect opening weekend of the new campaign on the new Ninja ZX-10RR.

Sykes, the WorldSBK champion in 2013, had more of an issue getting to the front group in race two, having to fight his way through once he had passed some slower riders and using up too much of his available tyre life in the process. He finished sixth today, 4.781 seconds from the win but having taken his second good result of the opening race weekend and third place overall in the points.

In the Manufacturers’ Standings, Kawasaki leads from Ducati 50 to 40.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Phillip Island was really rewarding and to win two last lap battles here means a lot because it is a such a hard track to lead from the front on. Whilst that 40th career victory means a lot it is more important to put a good score on the board for round one.
When I went through to clean air in the lead with three or four to go I was worried that the other riders may be learning too much about the bike. I had to be sure just to change the lines up a little bit but on the last lap, from Siberia corner onwards, I just put my head down and completed a very good back section. I covered my line into the MG hairpin and got myself tucked in as well as I could on the front straight. There was not only one area where we found some pace in the winter tests; we generally just polished the bike. Nothing magic happened but I feel good about this bike. The way things have changed a little bit have suited me. I can ride less on the limit and we have more tyre left to fight with at the end of races, compared to last year.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “It was a strange race today. I got a decent start, was happy with my track position but I struggled a little bit and couldn’t turn well enough really. I could not get alongside some of the others so I ended up about ninth or tenth after a while. The guys in front of me had a little bit of a scrap and the leaders got away. After nine or ten laps I was able to bridge the gap back to them. I think I did a fairly good job really but I had to use a little bit too much rear tyre. We have left here in third position in the championship. I got a bit carried away because I wanted more than third after yesterday’s podium but if somebody offered me that position before I came here, I possibly would have taken it. I love Phillip Island, love the people, love the track but we have never had two strong races here.”

2017 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015 and 2016
2017: Races 2, Wins 2, Podiums 2, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 40 (25 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 90 (48 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 9 (5 For Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2017: Races: 2, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 31 (31 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 85 (84 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 38 (38 For Kawasaki)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
4 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015 & 2016), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
2 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016)
2 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015 & 2016)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 93 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 310 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 64 – second overall

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