REA SECOND QUICKEST AFTER DAY ONE
Jonathan Rea was classified second overall after the first two free practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at round nine of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship.
Bright September sunshine and increasing temperatures from FP1 to FP2 meant lots of set-up work and evaluation of race tyre options for Jonathan. The Barcelona - Catalunya circuit is particularly hard on front tyres but work is also needed on choosing rear tyres and making them work all through the races when the track temperature rises.
The hotter afternoon track temperatures meant not all riders could improve their best lap times from the morning session, although that part of the day was turned over to making a real evaluation of tyre choices and potential race pace.
Sunday’s ten-lap Superpole race will take place at 11am on Sunday morning but each full 20-lap WorldSBK race will start at 15.15 this weekend, during the hottest part of the day.
At the recently modified 4.657km long circuit, which features a longer and more open Turn Ten, Rea prepared his Ninja ZX-10RR race machine in hot conditions but there is a possibility of passing summer rain storms arriving during the rest of the weekend, which could call for a full wet or intermediate set-up.
Before the race action gets underway, and in whatever the prevailing weather conditions will be on Saturday, Rea will face a short FP3 session, then Tissot-Superpole qualifying and finally Race One.
Rea will be out to extend his record of eight consecutive Superpole ‘wins’ on Saturday morning after setting a new stand-alone milestone at the previous round in Magny Cours.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “We found different grip levels from the ones we had in the Catalunya test. The grip level is quite low and even with a lot of tyre rubber down on the track in FP2, it was still quite low today. Step-by-step we are trying to understand what we are doing with the bike. I made a longer race simulation - not over full race distance - and the tyre grip started to drop. After that I wanted to try the SC0 option tyre, the harder one, but we did not have enough time and I wasn’t really fast with that. I know my race tyre set-up for tomorrow already, but we just need to be a little bit faster at the end. So the key, with the drop of the tyre, is going to be the last five or six laps. Tomorrow we will focus on making the life of the rear tyre better and see where we are.”