Johnny Rea is the best of the rest
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