Jonathan Rea extended his lead at the top of the FIM Superbike World Championship with victory in Misano, Italy on Sunday.
The Castletown resident finished second behind Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes in the opening race of the eight round having been held up early on, claiming his 16th successive podium finish this season in the process.
In the second race an interesting battle unfolded between the top riders before Ulsterman Rea eventually overhauled long-time leader Davide Giugliano to clinch the win and the maximum 25 points on offer.
Sykes finished fifth, a result which means that, as well as a new lap record of 1m 34.720s, Rea extended his series advantage to 133 points - 375 to Sykes’ 242. On top of that, the win means Rea remains one ahead of Sykes in terms of total 26 WSB career race wins, 26-25.
Speaking after the race, Rea commented: ‘Obviously we have to start to think about the championship now but I wanted to win today. In race two Davide Giugliano was a good marker to understand my pace and then with a few laps left I made a move to pass.
‘We made a great race and I think at the end we are using our rear tyres better than some others. We changed our rear tyre choice from race one and that was always the plan, as the morning was a bit cooler.
‘Kawasaki has given us a bike to win and they proved that today with Tom winning race one and me winning race two. I am so grateful to be in this position and to have the opportunity to fight for wins.’
Rea also dedicated his victory to fellow Ballyclare man Jamie Hamilton who was seriously injured in a crash during the Senior TT and remains in a critical but stable condition at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool.
l The next WSB round takes place at Laguna Seca in America on July 19.