Jonathan Rea (KRT) scored a win in the ten-lap Tissot Superpole Race on the final day of action at the Donington WorldSBK weekend before a fall in Race Two prevented him from securing more championship points. Alex Lowes fell in the Superpole race but restarted to finish 14th, then went on to take sixth place in Race Two.
In the morning’s ten lap Tissot Superpole ‘sprint’ race Rea and Lowes, both on intermediate tyres, looked on course for a one-two finish until Alex clipped a white line at the apex of the Old Hairpin and crashed. He restarted to finish inside the points, as Rea rode on to record his 104th career WorldSBK Race win and take the maximum points on offer.
There was a late scare for the entire grid as light rain fell just before the start of Race Two, held at 14.00 local time. In the end the track surface remained dry, with all riders riding on slick tyre choices.
Rea made a strong start from pole but was passed by the hard charging eventual race winner and new championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu. The two main championship challengers at this early stage of the season rode together at the front, testing each other out and breaking the challenge from any other riders behind.
When his rival made a small mistake and ran off the ideal line Rea re-took the lead but shortly afterwards he caught some bumps on the entry to Coppice and he fell, without injury. Eventually restarting in the hope to score even a point, Rea finished 20th.
Lowes was tenth off the grid after his morning fall and despite not finding the outright pace he expected, after strong showings in all previous dry sessions, he finished sixth.
In the championship rankings after four rounds Rea is now second and Lowes fourth, with Razgatlioglu on 183 points, Jonathan on 181, Scott Redding on 117 and Alex on 114.
After the UK event the WorldSBK Championship riders, plus the WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 competitors who sat out the Donington round, will head to Assen in the Netherlands between 23-25 July.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “A bitter sweet day really. The Superpole race in mixed conditions was really stressful on the grid, because we saw some guys used a wet tyre but the clear choice was the intermediate - or even the slick, to be honest if I had to do the race again. I built a nice lead and was able to maintain that 2.5 second gap to the end. In Race Two we changed the bike quite a lot from yesterday because I was struggling quite a lot with grip, and the bike was not turning as well. We fixed that in morning warm-up for Race Two. When Toprak came through and I ran wide into the chicane I gained the time I had lost to him quite quickly. I just kept my powder dry then he made a mistake at Coppice and I passed him. I just put my head down because I had the rhythm, the bike set-up and the feeling. But, going into Coppice I got caught out wide on the bumps a little bit, the front unloaded and when I tipped it in I lost the front. I am frustrated with myself but I am feeling a lot more positive than I did yesterday because I felt I did not have the tools to fight then. Today I felt it was my race but I made a silly mistake. We just have to maximise every opportunity now.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “That was a tough day when I expected to be really strong. In the mixed conditions I was strong, to be honest, and I felt really good on the bike for the Superpole race. We had some experience from Aragon on the Intermediate tyres. I thought on the grid I was going to have a chance. The crash was completely my mistake but into the Old Hairpin on the outside of the track there were a lot of wet patches. I was so conscious of not overshooting and hitting the wet patch that I turned it too tight and caught the white line on the inside. I just touched it and it was enough to crash. It is a shame because with my pace I should have had a good race. After Saturday’s podium it would have been good. In the final race I do not really know what happened. After starting tenth I managed to gain some places in the first corner but I was just slower than expected. I have been fast in every dry session but in the race I was struggling and spinning. I do not really know why. If I look at today it has been disappointing but if I look at the weekend, my first time here on the Kawasaki, I gained some points on third in the championship. That is the positive side.”