Rea Takes Early Advantage At Home
Jonathan Rea took his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR to the top of the Friday qualifying timesheets at Donington Park ahead of the first race in round six of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship.
Overcast skies brought some light rain during FP1 but Rea persevered in his attempt to find a strong pace and machine set-up. He would head up FP1 in the morning and eventually the entire day of practice. Only two riders set lap times in FP2, as the rain increased and prevented any realistic chance of any rider improving his best lap time.
Jonathan praised the improvements on the new Donington Park track surface, which has removed many of the previous bumps and offers higher grip characteristics than the previous asphalt. Despite the light rain making conditions less than ideal, Rea’s fastest lap of 1m 27.627 in today’s session was less than a second outside the previous lap record of 1m 26.767.
Superpole qualifying will take place at 11:10 tomorrow before the first 21 lap WorldSBK races of the weekend at 14:00.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The weather in the whole first practice session wasn’t perfect. There were some spots of water on the visor but you just convinced yourself the track was OK. It has been a bit of a tough day because I have only done five proper timed laps. Right now, we feel a bit underprepared but we are at the top of the timesheets, so it is not all bad. We brought some things here from the test we recently took part in at Motorland Aragon. But, with the limited track time available today it is hard to know if we can continue with them tomorrow. I need a bike that I really know well and I am comfortable to push with. Now we will have one 30 minute FP3 session to set the bike up before Race One. There is new asphalt here, a new grip level and new demands. The track surface feels quite demanding on the rear tyre, to be fair. So, I am not sure if we will persevere with the things we brought from the test.”