Jonathan Rea has probably never had to ride harder for second place in his career as he is doing at the moment.
Rea and his Kawasaki team still haven’t found an answer to the Alvaro Bautista and Aruba Ducati partnership, that has dominated the opening six races of the 2019 world superbike championship.
It is not for the want of trying from the four times World Champion as he led the Spaniard for eight laps around the 4.554km long Chang International Circuit in the first race of the weekend until he was finally overtaken by race-winner Bautista and had to settle for second for the fourth time this year.
“I love riding on that level but unfortunately the result did not reflect that effort and in the end I started to think about bringing back 20 points,” explained Rea.
He again had to settle for second behind Bautista in Sunday’s sprint race after it was red flagged due to a crash involving Leon Camier and local rider Thitipong Warokorn.
In the second 20-lap race of the weekend Rea again tried to stay in the slipstream of Bautista but had no answer to his speed advantage. “The best we could hope for today was a brace of second places and we managed to achieve that, albeit with a lot of pressure from Alex,” said Rea.
“He kept really pushing, as he had in the sprint race, but I just had that little bit extra in the end of race three to go away. I felt this weekend we struggled a little bit with front-end stability but behind my visor I was giving it 110% especially in those early laps to try and keep in the slipstream as long as I could. I am taking home 49 points again and we will try to build on that in Europe.”