Rea followed up his first race win with a near win in race two to keep his podium run going through all 20 races in the season so far. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) led race one for some time but dropped down to an eventual fifth place, while he scored 14th place in a drama-laden race two.
Despite his first and second places at Sepang, and a last lap attempted overtake on eventual race two winner Chaz Davies that would have made him champion, Rea was not quite able to close out the championship over the weekend.
Jonathan has an advantage of 144 points over second place Davies now, with three rounds remaining. Rea had managed to pass Davies on the last lap in race one, to win by 0.121 but lost out on race two by only 0.091 seconds after a final corner contact between the leading riders.
Sykes led race one for 11 of the 16 laps and posted a remarkable new record lap time of 2’03.654 on lap two before he was forced to slow near the end with traction issues.
In race two Superpole winner Tom was involved in a first corner incident when Max Biaggi was pushed wide exiting the corner and he and Sykes collided. Sykes continued, dropped some places he would late make up again, before falling as he tried to recover even more positions. He restarted at the back and fought back to score 14th and two points. He is now third overall in the championship standings.
Rea has a total of 452 points now, Davies 308 and Sykes 295. In the manufacturers’ championship Kawasaki enjoys a 112-point lead.
The next race will be held after a long summer break, at Jerez de la Frontera, on September 20th.
JONATHAN REA (Rider Kawasaki Racing Team):“I’m really happy after a good weekend and happy to go into the summer break now healthy and looking forward to Jerez. With three laps to go in race two Arturo my mechanic gave me a bit of a secret signal and I knew if I went then I could catch Chaz. Halfway around the last lap I realised it would be possible. I passed Chaz and went through clean. We had contact but I do not blame him for that – I would do the same – but I almost crashed at the same time. I am really happy because we got another first and second on a race weekend and a bagful of points. If I had won the championship here maybe my wife would not have spoken to me for a day or two because she is at home! I just wanted to have a really good weekend and we did that.”
TOM SYKES (Rider Kawasaki Racing Team):“We were unlucky in race two as someone got on the inside of Max and he was pushed wide. He had nowhere to go and he picked it up. I was on the outside so bad luck really. I was catching the group in front and felt good after making a change to the bike after race one. It was better but not perfect. I struggled with a bent brake lever after the contact and then when I fell later on I bent the gearlever up about 15mm and broke the footpeg off, so I only had a little stub. We were unlucky today, which is a shame because we had great pace on the bike. The tyre dropped a lot in race one and we never expected that.”
Superbike (1000cc) leaderboard after round 10: