World Superbikes: Jonathan Rea secures championship

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Jonathan Rea has won the 2015 World Superbike Championship

Northern Ireland's Jonathan Rea has been crowned World Superbike champion after finishing fourth in Sunday's opening race at Jerez.

The 28-year-old had gone into the Spanish round with a massive 144-point lead and needed only to finish in the top nine to be sure of the title.

Rea becomes the fifth British rider to win the World Superbike Championship.

He had another fourth in the second race at Jerez with the victories going to Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies.

Rea is Northern Ireland's first motorcycling world champion since Joey Dunlop and Brian Reid in 1986.

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Dunlop clinched the Formula One TT title that year while Reid was the Formula Two winner.

The other British riders to have won World Superbike titles are Carl Fogarty, Neil Hodgson, James Toseland and Sykes.

Yorkshire rider Sykes won Sunday's opener in Jerez, with Welshman Davies the runner-up and Michael van der Mark of the Netherlands in third.

It was was the first time in 21 races that the Isle of man-based Rea had finished outside a rostrum position.

There are two rounds and four races remaining in the 2015 WSB series.

World Superbikes, Jerez, Race One
1 T Sykes (GB) Kawasaki; 2 Chaz Davies (GB) Ducati; 3 M Van der Mark (Ned) Honda; 4 J Rea (GB) Kawasaki; 5 L Haslam (GB) Aprilia; 6 M Pirro (Ita) Ducati

"I cannot quite believe it," said Rea after the title-clinching first race.

"I have been waiting for this moment for such a long time.

"It was a difficult race and on every lap I was thinking about the championship and I was really happy in the end."

County Antrim rider Rea comes from a famous motorcycling family, with his dad Johnny having won an Isle of Man TT race in a successful road racing career, while his grandfather John was one of Joey Dunlop's early sponsors.

Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea has won 12 World Superbike races this year
World Superbikes, Jerez, Race Two
1 Chaz Davies (GB) Ducati; 2 J Torres (Esp) Aprilia; 3 L Haslam (GB) Aprilia; 4 J Rea (GB) Kawasaki; 5 T Sykes (GB) Kawasaki; 6 M Baiocco (Ita) Ducati

Championship standings: 1 J Rea 478; 2 C Davies 353; 3 T Sykes 331; 4 L Haslam 286; 5 J Torres 210; 6 S Guintoli 175.