Magny-Cours WSBK: Rea closes on title with Superpole win
Jonathan Rea moved one step closer to clinching his sixth World Superbike with a comfortable victory in a wet Superpole race at Magny-Cours on Sunday.
Rea started third on the grid for the 10-lap encounter but took little time to snatch the lead from the BMWs that started first and second, clearing Tom Sykes at the very start before passing Eugene Laverty into the Turn 2 left-hander.
As the two BMW riders started slipping down the order, Alex Lowes took advantage of their declining form to move up to second, making it a Kwasaki 1-2 at the front of the field.
Lowes tried to challenge Rea for the lead on lap 6, having been encouraged by a first podium since Phillip Island season opener in Saturday’s race, but the 33-year-old immediately upped his pace to build a buffer over his Kawasaki teammate.
Lowes was unable to respond to Rea and slipped over a second behind with two laps to go, giving Rea a clear run to his 99th career victory.
Rea’s chief title rival Scott Redding made a brilliant getaway from 10th on the grid to move up to fifth on the opening lap, and then cleared the BMW of Sykes at Turn 1 on the following tour.
Redding caught the tail of Michael van der Mark’s Yamaha before the final lap but overshot the Adelaide corner, allowing the Yamaha rider back into third position.
Redding successfully passed van der Mark later in the lap, but van der Mark managed to retake the final podium position heading into Turn 15 after pushing the Ducati rider out wide.
Following the result, Rea is likely to seal a record sixth crown in the second full-distance race of the weekend later on Sunday.
Redding’s Ducati teammate Chaz Davies came on top in a lengthy battle with the Ten Kate Yamaha of Loris Baz to finish fifth, ahead of the satellite Go Eleven Panigale V4 R of Michael Ruben Rinaldi.
Garrett Gerloff, who triggered the crash that wiped out both BMWs in Saturday’s Race 1, finished eighth on the GRT Yamaha after being forced wide earlier in the race by Baz.
Both factory Yamaha rider Toprak Razgatlioglu and Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Ducati) overtook the Honda of Leon Haslam at the final chicane to round out the top 10.
BMWs were unable to convert their front row start into a points finish, with Laverty trailing in 15th and Sykes pulling out of the race with three laps to go.
Superpole race results:
|3||60||Michael van der Mark||Yamaha||3.206|
|7||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||11.164|
|View full results|
Magny-Cours WSBK: Rea wins, BMWs wiped out at start
Magny-Cours WSBK: Redding's win delays Rea's coronation
Tom Sykes is eyeing a return to the World Superbike Championship next year and the Puccetti Kawasaki team could emerge as the most likely destination for the 2013 title winner.
World Superbike points leader Alvaro Bautista says he is hoping to get through one more "critical" track for Ducati at Magny-Cours without losing major ground to his rivals after stretching his advantage last weekend at Most.
Defending MotoAmerica champion Jake Gagne will return to the World Superbike Championship as a wildcard entrant in Portugal on October 8-9.
Scott Redding has admitted he had doubted his BMW World Superbike machine would ever reach its current level of competitiveness after scoring his first podium in a full-distance race last weekend at Most.