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WORLD Superbike champion Jonathan Rea couldn't make it a double yesterday at Magny-Cours but it was still a weekend the Ballyclare man will never forget.

On Saturday Rea became the first rider to secure three straight WSB titles but he crashed out yesterday in race two after clipping the prone bike of Eugene Laverty.

A broken rear brake ended Rea's race while Laverty also retired after slipping off as rain began to fall.

"It's a pity as I was on such a high on Saturday. It's a shame really," said Rea who arrived back to Belfast City Airport last night to a triumphant homecoming.

"I'm frustrated not to finish - unfortunately Eugene crashed in front of me and when I collided it took out the entire brake set and lever," said Kawasaki rider Rea. "We had lost two laps in the pits and decided to retire. A toe is swollen and painful and I'm going for an X-ray, but it's not the reason I retired.

Welsh rider Chaz Davies led from lap three to win with Alex Lowes second and MIchael van der Mark in third.

Davies is now just nine points behind behind Tom Sykes in the battle to finish second in the series, with the Englishman coming in seventh on Sunday.

Lowes led on the opening lap but Davies powered his way to the front on his Ducati and earned his seventh win this year with three seconds to spare. Leon Camier was lying third when he retired on lap 10 in a race hit by intermittent rain.

Xavi Fores and Marco Melandri completed the top five and two rounds now remain in the 2017 championship.

There was joy for Rea a day earlier as he made history with a 50th win giving him a third title in a row.

"I'm really proud of myself and what I've achieved so far," Rea said. "To have this success in the sport, I'm just so blessed to be able to do what I love and I'm really thankful to everyone who supports me, especially those back home."


HOME Rea at City Airport last night and, below, after victory

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 2, 2017
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