Jonathan Rea was back on track for Friday Free Practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, for the opening day of the second round the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship today. 


Clear Spanish sunshine welcomed the WorldSBK field, with the perfect opportunity presented to reset and restart as the season gets underway in earnest in Europe. 


After FP1, the team’s Northern Irishman Rea was third fastest and with Italian teammate Locatelli in P5, both without completing a “time-attack” practice lap. Rea’s work continued in the afternoon with a focus on race simulation runs to assess the grip levels and tyre wear over the course of 20 laps, in preparation for the main points-paying race on Saturday and Sunday. 


The drop in grip in the closing stages of the Catalunya race can be costly – with 1.5 to 2 seconds per lap separating riders who manage their tyres in the best way, to those who don’t. With this clear in the minds of the Pata Prometeon Yamaha crew, naturally the focus in the afternoon was to understand and mitigate any potential problems in similar warm Race 1 conditions. 


Without a time attack completed in the afternoon Rea finished fifth on the combined timesheet with a positive mindset for the weekend ahead. Tomorrow starts with one final Free Practice session at 9:00 CET (UCT+1) followed by Superpole qualifying at 11:00 and lights out for Race 1 after lunch at 14:00. 


Jonathan Rea: P5 – 1'41.400

“It’s been nice, a breath of fresh air competing for the positions we should be battling for. I was fast in the morning and then in the afternoon, we focused on doing a race simulation. It was really important to do the full 20 laps because we’re understanding the exact bike behaviour in the last few laps where the drop in grip is quite critical – so coupled with the input that we have from the test where I did another simulation on two different tyre choices, we have good info to put together to understand the way forward tomorrow. You can never be prepared enough at Barcelona: the target is to not get too excited and look after the tyres as much as possible. The lap time here can be incredible and I’m sure if I put soft tyres in, we can make a fast lap time, but the drop of grip can cost so much time at the end of the race – so we need to focus on that. I’m not completely satisfied, there is always potential to improve but we’re working in a really good way. We’ll put our heads together tonight and hopefully tomorrow we can have a package to fight for the top positions.”