Jonathan Rea has said the one point he gained over championship rival Tom Sykes at Magny Cours this weekend could make all the difference as he fights to become the first rider to retain a World Superbike title since Carl Fogarty in 1999.
Rea has only increased his series lead by a couple of points since the series resumed at Lausitzring last month following the long summer break, but the gap between him and team-mate Tom Sykes now sits at 48 points with just 100 left on the table.
If he can increase the lead by two further points at Jerez in two weeks’ time, he will leave Spain as World Champion for the second time in two years. However, it won’t be too easy for the Ulsterman with team-mate Tom Sykes and Ducati’s Chaz Davies on top form in recent rounds.
“I tried to plan my pass on Tom because he is strong right now and he is hard to pass at the best of times,” he said.
“When I overtook under braking, unfortunately it let Chaz come past us. Then I had to try to pass Tom again but already the gap to Chaz was too much. Maybe I spent too much time behind Tom but he is riding so well. I am happy with my race because, today, second place was the best I could do and I am happy with the way I rode.
“We need to improve the bike set-up in some areas but all things considered I am happy with the result. It is a 48-point gap now and it is nice to extend the championship lead, if by one point after Lausitzring last time and by another single point here! Championships can be won by a point so every one of them is important. If we can just have a clean end to the season hopefully we can do the job."
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