Jonathan Rea set the third fastest lap-time at the end of the first day of action for round eight of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship at the Magny-Cours circuit in France. His time of 1m 37.426 was a mere 0.288s from provisional pole position with the top ten riders being covered by just over half a second on what was a busy day of contrasting weather.

Overnight rain meant the first track sessions of the day were wet and the WorldSBK riders only managed a handful of laps as the a dry line emerged whilst clock ran down in the 45 minutes session.

Once the cloud cover had given way to sunshine in the afternoon the air and track temperatures rose steadily and FP2 provided the fastest times in the best track conditions for all 21 riders in the WorldSBK field. Having his first true dry weather experience of a track surface that was relaid for the 2020 season he experienced some set-up issues that he and his team will resolve overnight.

On Saturday 4 September Rea and Lowes will start their day with FP3 in the morning, followed by Tissot Superpole qualifying and then a full distance 21-lap WorldSBK Race One, which starts at 14.00 local time in France.

Jonathan Rea said: “I did not feel completely comfortable on the bike today. I feel consistent, just consistently slow! In that last part of braking and tipping into the corner I feel I am losing a little bit. Aside from that, some areas where we have been really strong in the past, like sector one, I have been struggling. There are a lot of bumps in Turn One and the bike is not really absorbing them so well. It is taking the edge off full commitment because the bike is moving around. It is just a case of going through what we have learned this afternoon and comparing it with what we have had in the past. We know the bike works well here and we will try to make a step for tomorrow.”