Rea celebrates in front of his home crowd at the Silverstone circuit.
Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea won the first of today’s two ninth-round World Superbike championship races at Silverstone in the UK – his 11th series victory – and followed up with fourth in race two, which was stopped early because of rain.
It was a day of mixed conditions at the 5.902km Silverstone circuit, with race one delayed by 20 minutes and shortened by one lap, but starting dry. As light rain began to fall on lap six, however, 26-year-old Rea moved to the front and extended his lead to more than six seconds before easing off in the closing two laps.
Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, climbed as high as third place during the damp conditions of race one, but slipped back to finish seventh at the flag. The 30-year-old crashed out two laps from the end of race two, bringing out the red flags as rain fell once more on the Northamptonshire circuit. Haslam landed heavily on the left leg that he broke in a crash at Assen earlier in the season, although precautionary x-rays revealed no further damage.
Rea got a slow start to race two, circulating in ninth place before making a steady climb towards another podium challenge. However, the red flags prevented any further progress, leaving Rea as the overall Silverstone winner as the Superbike World Championship goes into a month-long summer break.
Jonathan Rea – 1st and 4th
Race one was probably one of the sweetest victories of my career because to ride out-front in those conditions was quite scary. I was so happy for the whole team and our sponsors, but I had to be very cautious. I also had to be smart and, as I saw the gap heading into the last few laps, I didn’t want to be throwing away that kind of lead. My team gave me a great bike after we pulled something out for Superpole that worked in the dry. We made a good change for race two and got up to fourth after I got stuck behind Tom Sykes for a few laps. I lost way too much time at the beginning but I was happy to do a 2m05s lap in the later stages. The race two result was OK but we can go into the summer break happy enough that we’ve got an overall package that can challenge for podiums.
Leon Haslam – 7th and DNF
It’s been a frustrating weekend really and we’ve had issues right the way through until warm-up this morning. We made a big step forward for that and I had pretty good pace in race one, but starting from back in twelfth place was quite hard work. I managed to get up to a position to fight for the podium but made a few mistakes late on and missed out on that. I got a terrible start to race two and got stuck behind Guigliano but started to make my way through and into the top 10. Unfortunately, the rain came and I got caught out with a big highside. My leg’s pretty sore and I’ve got an operation to take some screws out this week. A month off will be good for the leg though, and in Germany I know I’ll be a lot fitter. At least we know the bike’s working in in-between conditions, with Johnny’s race one win, but we’re also still making good progress day-by-day in full dry conditions.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
Both races were rain-affected and conditions got really tricky in race one but Jonathan went to the front and gave us our first win of the season, which we were all delighted with. Leon was really fast in the intermediate conditions but slipped back a bit when it dried up at the end. In race two Jonathan got held up a bit and lost some time, but he got back up to fourth when the rain came back. All-in-all it was a good weekend for him. Leon’s pace was not so good in race two and he crashed, but fortunately he’s OK. The break will do him and everyone in the team some good but we’re looking forward to coming back at the Nurburgring.