Johnny Rea is the best of the rest

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

While none of the pad­dock like to ad­mit it, even some in­side the of­fi­cial Du­cati team feel that Jonathan Rea has been rid­ing with some­thing in hand so far in 2017.

But at Imola, Rea put it all on the line – even over the ce­ment dust lines at the mul­ti­ple points of spillage – in his ef­forts to win at least one race. His pass on Xavi Fores, around the out­side at the Ri­vazza en­try in race two, would have been breath­tak­ing at the best of times, do­ing it across the ce­ment dust that oth­ers were too scared to cross showed his ut­ter de­ter­mi­na­tion to stay in con­tention.

In the first race Rea knew his num­ber was up in terms of try­ing to claw back the ad­van­tage Davies had built up. “Over the last sea­sons we have al­ways had that lit­tle bit of a step with top-speed and ac­cel­er­a­tion,” said Rea. “Now the Du­cati is ac­cel­er­at­ing bet­ter than us and is a lit­tle bit faster than us. It is hard to use the strength of the four-cylin­der the whole way around the cir­cuit, be­cause our big­gest strength now is gone. We are just try­ing to max­i­mize en­gine brak­ing and be­ing con­sis­tent, not mak­ing mis­takes – this is the best I could do. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Chaz and Du­cati. They are one hell of a pack­age around here.”

Well beaten in the first race, he was much closer to Davies in the sec­ond. Had he got away ear­lier he even felt he could have stayed with Davies, if not quite beat him to the flag. “I was too far back from Chaz but we halved the win­ning mar­gin com­pared to yes­ter­day.”

But one of Rea’s over­whelm­ing strengths is that when he can­not win, he fin­ishes sec­ond, but he had to work hard in race two to keep Tom Sykes be­hind him, even af­ter Davies was gone.

Rea’s chase for a his­toric third straight cham­pi­onship win still con­tin­ues apace, as he ex­tended his cham­pi­onship lead to 74 points with Davies in sec­ond and Tom Sykes just one point be­hind the Imola dou­ble win­ner.

Two sec­ond place fin­ishes is as good as it got for Johnny Rea

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