Jonathan Rea clinches World Superbike win at Imola

Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea missed out on a double success at Imola

Jonathan Rea edged out Noriyuki Haga to win the opening World Superbike Championship race at Imola on Sunday.

The Castrol Honda rider from Ballyclare was also on course for victory in race two but was forced out with throttle problems when clear in the lead.

Rea's retirement four laps from the end let Carlos Cheka in for the win and the Spanish rider is on the verge of clinching the championship title.

Eugene Laverty from Toomebridge had fifth and fourth place finishes.

Rea, who missed most of the season with a wrist injury, had just 0.11 seconds to spare over Japanese rider Haga in the opener in Italy.

Laverty remains fourth in the series standings while Rea has moved up two places to 10th.