Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took his eighth and ninth second place finishes of the 2019 season today, first in the 10-lap Tissot-Superpole race and then in the second full distance contest. His team-mate Leon Haslam recovered from a tough Saturday to record a seventh place in the sprint race and then fourth this afternoon, fighting for a podium all the way.
Rea and Haslam have two points scoring races to compete in on Sundays in 2019 and in each of the races today Rea rode to what he feels were his best possible results – two runner-up places.
In every race of the year so far Rea has finished second but in the final race at Motorland he really had to work for it, using all of his race craft and experience to make the most of a late opportunity to ensure his second place. Windy conditions did not help Rea’s cause but he demonstrated why he is a four time World Champion by taking three second places away from the Spanish round.
Haslam and his team were fully competitive for a podium finish in the final race of the weekend, pushing up to second place at one time and finishing just 0.454 seconds off another podium finish for his KRT squad.
It was particularly satisfying result as it was a relatively tough weekend for Leon and his crew until the afternoon race, at a circuit which has not been one most favoured by Haslam in the past.
In the championship rankings, after three rounds and nine individual races, Jonathan has netted a total of 147 points and is 39 behind points leader Alvaro Bautista. Haslam is fifth overall and just five points from fourth place.
The classic circuit of Assen, in the Netherlands, will host the fourth round of the championship next weekend, with track action running from the 12th to the 14th of April.
Jonathan Rea: “It was a tougher Sunday than I expected and the strategy was different. Especially in the sprint race, I lost a lot of rear traction at the end. We think it was a consequence of being so fast in the beginning. During the 18-lap race I decided to be calmer in the beginning but when Alex Lowes came through he had a good pace with Chaz Davies. I started to panic a little bit that maybe these guys had an extra gear. And then Leon came past, so I had to step up and really use the tyre that I was conserving. My body language was a lot different at the end of the race because I really put my head down and maximised where we were strong. It looks like our bike is really creating a lot of traction in the long corners, which is positive. Our corner entry is not so bad. It was nice to see Leon in the front as well because our data becomes more relevant to compare and we can try to move the bike set-up forward together.”
Leon Haslam: “Starting from the fourth row was not ideal in the first two races so we used the sprint race to get back into it. The team has done mega-well from really struggling on Saturday morning to being able to battle for second place for Johnny. What a turnaround. I am really happy about what we have done here and I feel quite positive. In the sprint race I did not get the best of starts but it got me a better grid position for the final race. We made some steps in being able to pass people in the last race as well.”