Rea Wins Third Race Of The Season

Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) secured his third race win in succession on the Ninja ZX-10RR this season after a front-running display from pole position at the Chang International Circuit. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) made a successful late challenge for third place in the 20-lap race and scored his second FIM Superbike World Championship podium of the year.

From the very beginning of the first Thai race, in the full heat of the afternoon, Superpole winner Jonathan Rea was in determined mood, making a clear gap after just one lap of the 4.554km circuit. He finished up 6.279 seconds clear of second place finisher Chaz Davies at the end. Other than the first and last circuits, Rea posted lap times in the 1’33 bracket, a pace which none of his rivals could match in the hot and humid conditions.

Rea also set a new lap record to add to his new track best from Superpole 2. He reduced the lap record to 1’33.436 on lap five and in Superpole he had made a 1’32.957 – on race tyres – as there were no qualifying tyres available at this round.

Sykes, who was third for the first three laps of the opening race, was unable to keep his early position and dropped to fourth for some time. He used all his experience and speed in the closing laps to pounce on Marco Melandri for third place at the flag, scoring 16 valuable points in the process.

In the Riders’ Championship Rea leads Davies by 15 points – 75 to 60 – with another race to go this weekend. Sykes is a clear third in the standings after three races, with 42 points.

The second race of the weekend is scheduled for 16.00 on Sunday 12th March.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I did not know what my pace would be. I know it was fast enough to fight for the win but when I saw I had a gap of 0.4 seconds in the first lap I decided to try and put my head down as much as I could. As soon as I broke the one second mark I knew that slipstreaming was not going to come into play for the riders behind, so I just set my own rhythm. My pace was 1’33 and honestly I made a couple mistakes on some laps and was still in the 1‘33s. I managed to hold that rhythm and not try to over-push. It looks like we used the tyre a little bit on the right side but I guess that was to be expected as we were six seconds up the road at the end. I am really happy with that race.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “I had some limitations early on in the race with the brakes. I was not able to brake strongly initially and that meant I was unbalanced towards the apexes of the corners. I was still able to keep quite a consistent pace and close down Marco at the end. It was nice to take a podium but it was the beginning of the race where we were missing the initial pace – and that is not like us! We will keep working and try to improve that aspect for tomorrow. I was pushing and pushing at the end and finally with three laps to go I changed the entry to some corners and tried to use the tyre to the best. I think in the end we did a good job so I’m happy to recover a third place.”

2017 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015 and 2016
2017: Races 3, Wins 3, Podiums 3, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 41 (26 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 91 (49 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 10 (6 For Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2017: Races: 3, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 31 (31 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 86 (85 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: 94 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 312 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 65 – second overall

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