Upbeat Rea roars to podium spot in California

Jonathan Rea on the podium at Laguna Seca. INLT 29-911-CON
Jonathan Rea on the podium at Laguna Seca. INLT 29-911-CON

Jonathan Rea took third place in race two at round nine of the 2014 World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca in the USA on Sunday. The races were won by Aprilia’s Marco Melandri and championship leader Tom Sykes.

Starting from tenth on the grid after his Superpole crash on Saturday, Rea got a good start to the first 25-lap race around the 3.610km Californian circuit. However, while running in fifth place, the 27-year-old East Antrim rider ran wide at turn three and dropped to tenth before fighting his way back to sixth place at the flag.

Race two was red-flagged after nine laps with Rea holding seventh place, but a second red flag was shown immediately after the restart.

Lining up seventh on the re-formed grid for a seven-lap sprint, the Pata Honda man got another good start and a bold pass on Toni Elias in turn 10 secured his 40th World Superbike podium.

Speaking after race two, an upbeat Rea said: “I feel we should have been stronger in race one today, but that was a knock-on effect of my mistake yesterday in Superpole. But the red flags definitely helped me in race two by improving my grid position but they gave me a bike today that was pretty good.

“In the second part of the race, I felt like I had a bike that could compete right at the front had I been there from the first lap. Unfortunately, Laguna is really hard to pass at so I had to make some bold manoeuvres, but I enjoyed it! It’s how I like to ride and I’m excited to leave here with a podium, which almost feels better than my race win last week in Portugal.

“I’m excited to go into the summer break and come back strong for the last part of the year.”

Next week, both Rea and his team-mate Leon Haslam will fly to Japan for the prestigious Suzuka 8 -Hours race on July 27 before an extended break, with the World Superbike Championship re-grouping for round 10 at Jerez in Spain on September 5-7.

Mixed day for Laverty

Eugene Laverty on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki had a mixed day at Laguna with a DNF in race one and a fourth in the second race.

A disappointed Laverty said: “We as a team had the potential for podiums today.

“The guys worked so hard this weekend so we all deserved it before the summer break. Fourth was not really the reward we were looking for.”