Rea made a superb start to the first 30-lap race from the fifth row of the grid into Paddock Hill Bend. Twelfth at the end of the first lap, the Red Bull Honda protιgι rode with consistency and confidence throughout to secure his first points of the season at the first attempt. His reward was three points towards his championship tally for 13th position and a sound start to his Superbike career.
An indifferent start to race two left Rea with a lot of places to make up on his Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. Undeterred, the 18-year-old Ballyclare rider fought back from outside the top 20 to take 18th place at the chequered flag to match his qualifying position.
Jonathan Rea: "Im obviously delighted with my performance in the first race. It feels great to have completed this event as it proves that I have returned to full race fitness. I would have been happy just to reach the chequered flag, but to have got up into the points from the off is a real bonus. My start let me down in race two, but that just goes to show how important that aspect of the race is it made all the difference to me today. I'm now really looking forward to the rest of the series with renewed confidence."
Superbike race one result: 1. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 23:17.575; 2. G. Lavilla (Ducati) +10.242; 3. G. Richards (Kawasaki) +10.432; 4. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +10.533; 5. S. Emmett (Yamaha) +14.168; 6. K. Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) +18.874; 7. J. McWilliams (Honda) +24.408; 8. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +24.604; 9. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) +26.892; 10. T. Hill (Yamaha) +32.289; 13. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) +38.813
Fastest lap: 0:45.954 R. Kiyonari (lap 3) new lap record
Superbike race two result: 1. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 23:16.796; 2. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +5.041; 3. G. Lavilla (Ducati) +8.027; 4. L. Haslam (Ducati) +9.786; 5. S. Emmett (Yamaha) +14.181; 6. K. Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) +14.421; 7. G. Richards (Kawasaki) +16.612; 8. S. Smart (Suzuki) +24.002; 9. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) +24.439; 10. G. Mason (Honda) +24.506; 18. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) +40.102
Fastest lap: 0:46.093 G. Lavilla (lap 14)
Championship points after one round: 1. Kiyonari - 50; 2. Lavilla 36; 3. Rutter 33; 4. Richards 25; 5. Emmett 22; 6. Harris 20; 7. Reynolds 14; 8=. Thomas, Haslam 13; 10. Hill 10; 16. Rea 3
Laverty makes successful debut
Eugene Laverty made an excellent start to his first British Supersport campaign by finishing sixth on the Red Bull Honda CBR600RR in brilliant sunshine at Brands Hatch. The Toomebridge teenager has progressed into the Supersport class this season after finishing runner-up in the 2004 British 125GP Championship for the same team.
Fourth into the first turn, Laverty was relegated to sixth at the end of a hectic first lap around the 1.2-mile Indy circuit. The 18-year-old Ulsterman soon settled into the scorching 28-lap race and a ferocious battle for the last podium position as eventual race winner and fellow Honda rider Jay Vincent pulled away from the rest of the field with Stuart Easton in hot pursuit.
While some of his opponents crashed out of contention, Laverty showed maturity beyond his years to maintain a top six position at the chequered flag. It was a typically competitive Supersport race, but Laverty had kept his cool in the mix for third behind the more experienced trio of Craig Jones, Leon Camier and Pere Riba.
Eugene Laverty: "I'm really pleased for everyone associated with Red Bull Honda and I'd like to thank them all for the support they have shown me in preparing for my first British Supersport race. The hard work has paid off and I have achieved my aim of finishing in the top six. This was a very different experience to racing the Honda RS125 over the past few seasons. The race was longer and this made things more challenging for me. If I can continue this progress at the next round, then I'll be happy."
Race result: 1. J. Vincent (Honda) 22:22.207; 2. S. Easton (Ducati) +4.827; 3. C. Jones (Honda) +11.843; 4. L. Camier (Honda) +11.894; 5. P. Riba (Kawasaki) +12.271; 6. E. Laverty (Red Bull Honda) +13.602; 7. T. Tunstall (Honda) +18.677; 8. K. Murphy (Honda) +21.222; 9. L. Quigley (Honda) +31.404; 10. J. Robinson (Honda) +32.871
Championship points after one round: 1. Vincent 25; 2. Easton 20; 3. Jones 16; 4. Camier 13; 5. Riba 11; 6. Laverty 10; 7. Tunstall 9; 8. Murphy 8; 9. Quigley 7; 10. Robinson 6
Jones shows championship potential
Chris Jones showed his obvious potential as he led his debut British 125GP Championship race at Brands Hatch before crashing out in the closing stages. The 14-year-old Red Bull Honda rider was riding at the front of the field when he lost the front end of his RS125 on the entry to Druids Bend.
Showing experience beyond his years, Jones took the holeshot into Paddock Hill Bend before being passed by Kev Coghlan on the run up to Druids. The Red Bull Honda rookie maintained station until the safety car was necessitated as a result of an incident involving former British Champion Michael Wilcox.
After six laps behind the car when overtaking is excluded Jones was soon on the case of the race leader. It was during the ensuing battle for the lead that the Droitwich teenager parted company with his Red Bull Honda RS125 on lap 18. The race was eventually stopped after 21 laps with Kev Coghlan taking maximum points.
However, with 12 races in the Honda-dominated series still to run, Jones has already shown his true potential as part of the Red Bull Honda team. By qualifying on the front row and leading the race, he will have gained invaluable experience to take to the second round at Thruxton next month.
Chris Jones: "It was unfortunate that I came off, but it's a long season and I'm confident that we can get back on track at Thruxton. I've never been behind a pace car before, so I wasn't as prepared as I might have been for how the working characteristics of the tyres changed. It's all part of the learning process that's the whole point of the Red Bull Honda team and at least I'm better prepared if it happens again. The main thing is that I'm OK and therefore I'll be ready to bounce back for action in two weeks."
Race result: 1. K. Coghlan (Honda) 18:46.747; 2. R. Guiver (Honda) +1.802; 3. B. Clark (Honda) +2.226; 4. C. Elkin (Honda) +2.467; 5. B. Smith (Honda) +5.963; 6. J. Webb (Honda) +6.533; 7. D. Linfoot (Honda) +7.699; 8. J. Morris (Honda) +7.829; 9. A. Lowes (Honda) +8.316; 10. A. Gault (Malaguti) +11.644
Championship points after one round: 1. Coghlan 25; 2. Guiver 20; 3. Clark 16; 4. Elkin 13; 5. Smith 11; 6. Webb 10; 7. Linfoot 9; 8. Morris 8; 9. Lowes 7; 10. Gault 6