Rea takes first Wanneroo win
Jonathan Rea drew first blood on Sunday for the Kings of Wanneroo event in Pert, Australia when he led the opening 15-lap race from start to finish.
The 22-year old had to work hard for his victory by fellow Ulsterman Ian Lowry and Australian polesitter Shannon Johnson but he withstood the pressure and eventually took the chequered flag by just over a second.
The first of three races saw Rea make the perfect start and he grabbed the holeshot from Lowry and Seeley whilst Johnson slipped back to fifth – Jeremy McWilliams was also in trouble on the first lap as a missed gear saw him drop back to 8th.
A lap of 56.180s on the second lap (comfortably quicker than the pole position time) saw Rea show his World Superbike class and although Lowry was putting him under extreme pressure, he stayed consistent at the head of the field.
Meanwhile, Johnson was working hard to claw back the gap and he lapped at 56.183s to latch on to the back wheel of Lowry.
At half race distance, the lap times were still in the mid 56s bracket with just 0.6s separating the trio as Seeley began to edge away from Pitt in fourth.
However, David Johnson was out after a coming together with Conor Cummins at the Basin with Ian Lougher retiring on lap 7 but all eyes were on the dice for the lead.
By lap 10, backmarkers were coming in to play and Johnson was the first to slip back losing 3/10ths on two successive laps and on lap 12 Rea squeezed by a tailender on the entry to the first corner giving him valuable breathing space over Lowry.
The BSB rider couldn’t get by until the Skyline section of the course and that meant Rea was able to hold on until the chequered flag for a fine victory.
“It was a steady race from start to finish,” said Rea. “I had real good signals so knew what the gap was all the time but I thought it was Shannon behind me not Ian so fair play to him as he really raised his game after qualifying.
"I really enjoyed the race and to get these road bikes working so well after four 25-minute sessions is testament to how good the Hondas are – all we’ve really done is tape up the indicators and wires and fit some race bodywork.
"It was hard work out there and I didn’t want to push harder than I needed to or make a mistake so I knew if I could get to the front I could run the pace I wanted.”
Lowry took a safe second ahead of Johnson, Seeley and Pitt whilst Simon Andrews had a good battle with Daniel Stauffer and McWilliams for sixth, eventually securing the position just after half race distance.
Australians Cameron Keevers and Ben Stronach rounded out the top ten with Guy Martin and Ryan Farquhar taking 12th and 13th.
Cummins regrouped for 15th but Keith Amor crashed out of the dice for tenth on the ninth lap after a coming together with Kevin Boulton at Turn One.
Race 1 result (15 laps) - Sunday
1 Jonathan Rea (Hon-GB)
2 Ian Lowry (Suz-GB) +1.005s
3 Shannon Johnson (KTM-AUS) +3.204s
4 Alastair Seeley (Suz-GB) +7.428s
5 Andrew Pitt (Hon-AUS) +9.481s
6 Simon Andrews (Kaw-GB) +14.541s
7 Daniel Stauffer (Yam-AUS) +16.062s
8 Jeremy McWilliams (KTM-GB) +16.556s
9 Cameron Keevers (Hon-AUS) +26.535s
10 Ben Stronach (Duc-AUS) +30.055s