Jonathan Rea aims for more France title fun as historic six-party bid nears end

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Jonathan Rea starts the penultimate round of the Superbike World Championship at Magny-Cours this weekend knowing he could win a remarkable sixth consecutive title. The record-breaking Ulsterman must be at least 63 points ahead of closest challenger Scott Redding on Sunday night to start celebrating again. He is currently 51 points ahead of his rival Ducati.

And the 33-year-old will have three races over the weekend to take his Kawasaki Ninja ZX10-RR in an unassailable lead and get his hands on a sixth title.

If he does not succeed, all will not be lost as there is one turn – in Estoril in Portugal – in mid-October to conclude the series.

The omens look good for Rea as, out of his five world titles to date, he has won three at Magny-Cours and won six of his 97 World Superbike victories on the French circuit.

Rea said: “Magny-Cours is a circuit that I have a lot of special memories of from my recent past.

“The track has been redone, so we have to pay special attention to it on opening day.

“We will face cooler weather conditions than we have had for most of this year’s championship, based mainly in Andalusia, and there is also the usual possibility that it could be wet in France. However, we’ll just see what comes and take it all. in our stride.

“The track is different from what we’ve been on this season so far.

“It’s more stop and go with a lot of sharp acceleration and quick changes of direction.

“We’ve been strong here in the past so we just need to understand our basic setup and manipulate that as the circuit calls for it.

“I’m feeling great on the bike this season and I’m happy to get stuck while keeping an eye on the weather forecast.

“The goal, as always, is to win races and progress step by step. ”

It will be another big test for Rea in a year that has seen seven different race winners to date.

Chaz Davies (Ducati) last won in Catalonia, where Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) won the Superpole race after Rea won the first match.

Former BSB champion Redding struggled to make his tires last over race distances, which cost him valuable championship points in his challenge to fight Rea’s first place.

BMW Motorrad, meanwhile, is progressing slowly, with Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty taking fifth and seventh places respectively after strong performances in the last race at Catalunya, which represents the best result for the team this season for both drivers. .

Ahead of this weekend, Ulsterman Laverty commented: “First of all, it’s great to have the fans back on track this weekend. Phillip Island was a long time ago when we last had fans.

“We are expecting rainy weather at Magny-Cours and I have only driven the BMW S1000RR in wet conditions during testing in Catalonia and my impressions were good.

“Rain or shine, my goal is to continue our progress from the last rounds to the top five. Elsewhere, Eunan McGlinchey continues his World Supersport 300 adventure at Magny-Cours.

He’s made great strides in qualifying for the main races where hundredths of a second and a bit of luck can mean the difference between being inside or outside, all on circuits he hasn’t. never seen before.

• With a 14-day quarantine period in effect, prospects for the 54th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – slated to take place on the weekend of November 19-22 – are starting to look increasingly slim as riders and teams cannot commit to being in the Far East during this period.

Telegraph de Belfast

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