World Superbikes: Rea wins race one at rain-soaked Misano to reduce series deficit

Jonathan Rea
Four-time WSB champion Rea won the sprint race and feature race two at Imola on 12 May

Jonathan Rea won Saturday's delayed rain-soaked World Superbike race one at Misano to reduce his deficit to series leader Alvaro Bautista to 32 points.

Heavy rain caused a delay to the start at the Italian circuit and then the first attempt to run the race was halted by the weather after three laps.

England's Alex Lowes crashed out of the lead on lap nine, leaving Rea to come home a convincing 3.5-second winner.

Englishman Tom Sykes was second, with Bautista third in very wet conditions.

Standing water on the track led to an initial 25-minute hold-up to the opening race of the weekend, for which Northern Irishman Rea had secured pole position for the second round in a row.

When the rain relented sufficiently to allow a start to be made, Lowes and Rea broke away from the pack and were contesting the lead when the red flags came out as rain descended on the course, accompanied by thunder and lightning.

The race was subsequently re-started over 18 laps an hour after the initial start time and with the rain soon lashing down again, Lowes took over at the front from Rea with 12 laps to go.

Four-time champion Rea showed skill and composure on the saturated track to clinch a comprehensive 74th victory of his World Superbike career and this third of the season, having won the sprint event and race two at Imola on 12 May.

For the Kawasaki rider, it was his seventh career success at Misano, a venue where he enjoyed double triumphs in 2016 and 2018.

"It is super nice to win again, albeit in difficult conditions. I'm so happy," said Rea on Eurosport after the race.

"I got into a good rhythm but couldn't match Alex's pace - he was on a different level I wasn't prepared to match in those conditions. It was unfortunate for him as he was riding a great race."

"I managed to watch my boards and keep the gap constant but those were the longest 19 laps of my life."

Loris Baz, Welshman Chaz Davies and Italian Marco Melandri completed the top six, but Dutchman Michael van der Mark has been ruled out of the weekend's action after breaking his wrist at the end of second free practice.

2019 WSB Riders' Championship
Alvaro Bautista (Spa)Ducati316 pts
Jonathan Rea (Gbr)Kawasaki284
Michael van der Mark (Ned)Yamaha188
Alex Lowes (Ned)Yamaha142
Leon Haslam (Gbr)Kawasaki130
Marco Melandri (Ita)Yamaha112

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