Jonathan Rea has denied that battling with Tom Sykes cost him the win in today’s opening World Superbike race at Donington Park.
The Kawasaki duo were scrapping from the word go in today’s opening encounter, which allowed van der Mark to get to the front and pull a gap.
When Rea finally broke clear of his team-mate, he was able to close in on the Yamaha rider but not close enough to clinch victory in the final laps.
The three-time World Champion says his grip levels significantly dropped towards the end of the race and while he was faster than Van der Mark in certain sections of the track, the Yamaha had the upper hand over the rest of the lap.
Rea believes van der Mark’s stronger pace could have come from using Pirelli’s development SC0 soft option rear tyre.
“The bike felt good, but in the middle to the end of the race the grip level just dropped and I was having to over-ride the bike to try and make it up, especially through Craners and I lost a lot of time to Mikey there,” he explained.
"I felt like we should get the race off to a good start, but Tom was really aggressive – especially arriving in turn seven! I thought ‘if you’re giving it to me, you’re getting it in the next corner!’ I wanted to set the rhythm, I didn’t want him to find his rhythm and make it his race, I wanted it to be mine but he had different ideas!
“To get to Mikey in the last laps I used everything, physically and mentally, he just had it towards the end. I rolled off on the last lap a bit as I knew I wasn’t going to catch him. I don’t think racing with Tom lost us the race, Mikey just had better pace today. Tomorrow we’ll look at trying the bigger profile rear tyre as we didn’t try it yesterday because of the weather.”