His­tory man Rea se­cures hat-trick of world ti­tles

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport -

Jonathan Rea made his­tory yes­ter­day by becoming the first rider to seal three con­sec­u­tive World Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onships with vic­tory in the first race at this year’s French round.

The 30-year-old North­ern Ir­ish­man, who claimed a dou­ble tri­umph in Por­tu­gal last time out, clinched the open­ing race win to se­cure the ti­tle with two rounds of the cham­pi­onship – and to­day’s sec­ond race – still re­main­ing.

Rea started from pole po­si­tion on his Kawasaki ahead of Ar­gen­tinian Le­an­dro Mer­cado (Aprilia) and team-mate Tom Sykes, and he soon pulled clear of the rest of the pack to re­main un­chal­lenged at the front.

He recorded his 12th vic­tory of the season in beat­ing Ital­ian Marco Me­landri (Ducati) and clos­est ri­val Sykes to the fin­ish line with more than a 16-sec­ond gap.

Bri­tish duo Leon Camier (MV Agusta) and Alex Lowes (Yamaha) fin­ished fourth and fifth, with the Ir­ish­man Eu­gene Laverty just pip­ping Aprilia team-mate Mer­cado to sixth place.

Ital­ian Da­vide Gi­ugliano (Honda), Michael van der Mark (Yamaha), of the Nether­lands, and Bri­ton Chaz Davies (Ducati) rounded off the top 10 at Magny-Cours.

In the overall world cham­pi­onship wins table, Rea joins Aus­tralian Troy Bayliss in joint-sec­ond place with three ti­tle vic­to­ries, one behind leader Carl Fog­a­rty.

To­day’s race gets un­der way at 1pm local time.

Crown­ing glory: Jonathan Rea claimed his 12th win of the season from pole po­si­tion

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