World Superbikes: Jonathan Rea takes first win at Jerez circuit

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Jonathan Rea sealed the 51st World Superbike success of his career

Triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea took his first win in the series at Spain's Jerez circuit to make it 13 victories for the season.

The Northern Irishman took the lead with four laps remaining after leader Marco Melandri of Italy retired.

Rea beat Chaz Davies by 1.1 seconds, with Tom Sykes in third.

Rea moves to within eight of Carl Fogarty's record of 59 career WSB wins but equals the Englishman's tally of 109 podium finishes in the series.

The Kawasaki rider clinched his third successive championship three weeks ago at Magny-Cours and now extends his lead to 129 points over English team-mate Sykes.

Rea could draw level with Australian Troy Bayliss as the second most successful rider of all time in terms of race triumphs if he finishes first in race two on Sunday.

Welsh Ducati rider Davies closes to within five points of Sykes with Sunday's second race, plus the final round in Qatar on 2-4 November, still to come.

If Rea can finish the year by winning all three races, he could overhaul American Colin Edwards' record for the number of points accrued in a season.

The Isle of Man-based rider, who crashed in final practice in Jerez, had clinched his first rostrum places at the Spanish circuit a year ago when he took third and second placed finishes.

Saturday's initial race was red-flagged after two riders came off but Rea immediately hit the front on the restart.

Italian Melandri overtook the Ulsterman with 13 laps remaining, with Davies moving into second soon after, before Rea went ahead of the Welshman again.

Melandri was forced to park up with a mechanical problem four laps from home after setting the fastest lap of the race, gifting Rea victory.

Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoli made up the top six, with Eugene Laverty eighth on the Milwaukee Aprilia.

"That was an incredible race. I gave it everything and I'm really happy to win - but I feel really sorry for Marco," said Rea.

2017 WSB Riders' Championship
Jonathan Rea (Gbr)Kawasaki481 pts
Tom Sykes (Gbr)Kawasaki352
Chaz Davies (Gbr)Ducati347
Marco Melandri (Ita)Ducati281
Alex Lowes (Gbr)Yamaha213
Michael van der Mark (Ned)Yamaha189

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