WSB: Rea: 'It felt like my tyre exploded'

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Jonathan Rea has said it felt like a sniper had shot his bike from underneath him as he crashed out of today’s opening Superbike World Championship race at Donington Park with unexplained tyre issues.

The Ulsterman was careful not to lay blame for the incident, which saw him crash heavily at Craner curves in the closing laps of the race, but video footage shows the incident was caused by an issue with the rear tyre, whether that be it came off the rim, was punctured or even delaminated.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the double World Champion, who started to feel a strange vibration shortly after his team-mate Tom Sykes passed him for the lead.


“All of a sudden I had a huge vibration start in the rear, then he passed me and I decided I had to just finish the race as I’d seen Chaz go down,” Rea explained. “The vibrations got worse and worse and worse and then my tyre just seemed to explode on the left side, that’s what I feel happened anyway. I don’t know what speed I was doing, but it was scary, it felt like there was a sniper in the crowd who shot my bike from underneath me.

“I’m really frustrated, we need to analyse exactly what’s happened before pointing fingers though. It’s a shame as I was sitting pretty and conserving both tyre and energy for the end.

“I knew I could race for the win with six laps to go, so that gives me a lot of motivation tomorrow but with the new grid format I have to start from the fourth row which is frustrating. Hopefully I’ll wake up not too sore!”

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing