History man Rea secures hat-trick of world titles
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