Battling Rea Takes Another Podium
After securing third place in the opening Motorland Aragon race on Saturday 23 September Kawasaki Racing Team rider Jonathan Rea was second and then fourth in Sunday’s two races.
After two typically wholehearted race performances Jonathan Rea ended his weekend with another WorldSBK podium to his credit and a strong fourth place despite issues with ultimate grip and traction in Race Two.
Starting from pole position Rea set a new race lap record in the ten lap Superpole Race, with his 1’49.028 tantalisingly close to the magic 1’48 bracket on race tyres. In Superpole qualifying, when using softer tyre options, Rea had also set a new track best of 1’47.73 as he secured his 42nd career pole position.
Rea was a narrow but convincing leader of the Sunday morning Tissot Superpole race for nine of the ten laps. He had championship leader Alvaro Bautista (the eventual race winner) and final third place rider Toprak Razgatlioglu for close company almost throughout. Bautista only got past Rea on the long back straight, with Jonathan not quite close enough to attempt a re-passing manoeuvre into the long last corner. Rea was still only just 0.179 seconds behind Bautista at the flag.
The second race of the day, and the third of the weekend, saw Rea denied a potential podium spot by first Andrea Locatelli (although he would eventually DNF) and then Race One winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Bautista won both Sunday races, with Razgatlioglu second in Race Two and Rinaldi third.
Rea could not quite find the pace over the whole 18-lap race that he expected to have, possibly because it was run in slightly hotter air and track temperatures than the other Motorland races. He lost grip from his front tyre as well as the rear, which made the final laps particularly challenging.
The next round of the WorldSBK championship - the penultimate round - will take place at Portimao in Portugal in a few days time, between 29 September to 1 October.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The bike set-up wasn’t so much different today so we have to analyse what has happened in Race Two. I am just guessing right now but I think with the SCX-A rear tyre maybe we were over the temperature threshold. I think the standard SCX was probably the better choice. If I had to do the race again I would change that. But in these temperatures I also struggled with the front tyre in turning, stability etc. I eventually started to check my pitboard with Bassani behind and tried to keep him at bay. The Superpole race before then was incredible. The bike worked amazingly well. I need to take the positives away from the weekend because it’s no mean feat to just turn up here and be on the podium. I was really disappointed in the Superpole Race because I did everything I could. The amount of time we lost in one small sector is incredible. So, I was disappointed after I did all that good work during what I saw was a good opportunity for us. Race Two was a bit of a curve ball. I didn’t see it coming that we would struggle that badly. But, overall, it’s a been a positive weekend.”