World Superbikes: Jonathan Rea 'dreams' of sealing third title with race win

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Jonathan Rea won the World Superbike crown in 2015 and 2016

Jonathan Rea says it would be a "dream" to secure a third consecutive World Superbike title with a race victory at Magny-Cours this weekend.

The Northern Irishman leads the championship by 120 points, and a win in race one on Saturday could be enough to clinch the title.

Rea will be on pole position after topping Saturday's qualifying session.

"The fairytale is to win the title by winning the race but it's not the be-all and end-all," said Rea.

"It's important to get the job done but the dream is to win the race.

"I won the championship by being off the podium at Jerez in 2015, which was horrible, and then by finishing second in Qatar last year, which felt a bit hollow," added the 30-year-old.

"Conditions will dictate but if it's dry I know I've got a good pace to fight for the win at least. If it's wet, then it becomes a bit of a lottery and the risk level is high, although my wet win percentage is pretty good."

Rea slid off the track early in Saturday's Superpole qualifying session held in wet conditions before regrouping to finish 1.2 seconds ahead of Argentine Leandro Mercado, with the Northern Irishman's nearest championship challenger Tom Sykes third fastest.

Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea is one short of 50 career World Superbike wins

Runaway series leader Rea was also fastest in both of Friday's practice sessions.

Rea is set to become the first rider to win three successive Superbike crowns and he lies one short of 50 race successes in the championship.

"Everything is teed up for a good race tomorrow, aside from the forecast. It looks like it's going to play a big factor," added the Northern Irishman.

"The forecast is for a lot of rain coming in, which turns everything on its head and makes everything a bit more stressful. I'm just hoping for some consistent weather.

"I'm in a great position, having such a big advantage with six races left. I'm pretty relaxed about it but it would be nice to do it as soon as possible."

Rea moved 120 points clear at the top of the championship standings by winning both races at Portimao.

The County Antrim-born rider has clinched four double successes this season in moving to a total of 11 wins during 2017 and the 49 career triumphs he has accumulated leave him just 10 short of the record tally achieved by Carl Fogarty, the four-time world champion.

Rea's fellow Northern Irishman Eugene Laverty was ninth in Saturday's qualifying despite crashing during the session and he will need to use another bike in the race.

2017 WSB Riders' Championship (GB unless stated)
Jonathan Rea Kawasaki431 pts
Tom Sykes Kawasaki311
Chaz Davies Ducati296
Marco Melandri (Ita)Ducati250
Alex Lowes Yamaha169
Xavi Fores (Spa)Ducati156