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Jonathan Rea bounces back to claim victory at Phillip Island

Jonathan Rea celebrates a British Grand Prix victory
Willis Marshall

Defending World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea produced a stunning recovery in the opening round of the 2020 championship at Phillip Island in Australia at the weekend.

The Ballyclare man crashed out in race one, only to regroup and take victory in race two plus a runner-up place in race three, to keep his Championship title hopes alive.

Rea got a flyer of a start in race one only to be driven wide by BMW rider Tom Sykes, leaving Rea at the back of the field.

In his pursuit, Rea made a rare mistake and slipped off his Kawasaki machine unhurt but out of the race, which was eventually won by Turkish rider Toprak Razgatioglu on the Pata Yamaha.

In race two, Rea raced to the chequered flag in front of race one winner Razgatioglu and Britain's Scott Redding.

In race three, Rea had a ding-dong battle with his team-mate Alex Lowes with Lowes getting the verdict by 0.03 seconds from Rea and Redding.

Lowes leads the Championship after round one on 51 points from Redding (39), Razgatlioglu (34) and Rea on 32 points.

Toomebridge rider Eugene Laverty had another miserable weekend, after a positive start in race one with Laverty finishing in 11th place.

A warm-up crash on Sunday morning left Laverty needing hospital treatment for concussion, and out for the remainder of the weekend.

Nearer to home, it was announced at the weekend that Michael Dunlop will ride under the Paul Bird Motorsports Team on a Ducati for the North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT races.

Dunlop, who was plagued by injury in 2019, sealed the deal with the Cumbrian business man Paul Bird, and now is looking to extend his number of TT victories in 2020.

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