World Superbikes: Jonathan Rea equals record for consecutive wins with Argentina success
World champion Jonathan Rea equalled the record of nine consecutive World Superbike wins by taking victory at the new El Villicum circuit in Argentina.
Doubles at the last four rounds of the series had helped the 31-year-old clinch his fourth title in a row.
The Northern Irishman has now won 15 races this season, one short of his 2018 tally, and two behind American Doug Polen's record of 17 set in 1991.
Rea now has 495 points - his record is 556 points in a championship season.
With another race to come in Argentina on Sunday and two more at the final round of the series in Qatar in a fortnight's time, the Kawasaki rider is well positioned to add to his record-breaking exploits of recent years with a maximum of 75 further points up for grabs.
Englishman Neil Hodgson and American Colin Edwards had both previously achieved nine race wins in succession in the series.
Rea clinched a fourth consecutive world crown at Magny-Cours at the end of September and again emphasised his dominance on Saturday by winning the first WSB race to be held in South America.
His triumph also ensured that Kawasaki took the manufacturers' championship for the fourth time in a row.
Another win would see him equal Carl Fogarty's record of 55 victories with a single manufacturer, the English four-time world champion having set the benchmark on a Ducati.
Rea has been on the podium 20 times this year and has stood on the rostrum a record 132 times during a distinguished career in the global series.
"It's incredible. I'm so happy. The guys have given me an incredible bike, especially for the end of the race, when my lap times remained constant," said Rea, who led from start to finish and won by 9.1 seconds.
Italian Marco Melandri was second on his Ducati, with Toprak Razgatlioglu from Turkey third on a Kawasaki.
Spaniard Xavi Fores, Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes made up the top six while Welshman Chaz Davies was a faller with nine laps of the 21 to go.
Race two will take place at 20:00 BST on Sunday.
|2018 WSB Riders' Championship|
|Jonathan Rea (GB)||Kawasaki||495|
|Chaz Davies (GB)||Ducati||335|
|Michael van der Mark (Ned)||Yamaha||317|
|Tom Sykes (GB)||Kawasaki||283|
|Marco Melandri (Ita)||Ducati||270|
|Alex Lowes (GB)||Yamaha||222|