The first day of action for the final round of the 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island in Australia saw Jonathan Rea finish fastest of all after two dry sessions on the 4.445km circuit.

After the extreme heat of the previous round last weekend in Indonesia, the secret on Friday was to find a strong set-up in much cooler but consistently dry conditions. Kawasaki Racing Team used the set-up data from the last time WorldSBK visited Phillip Island in 2020, before the gobal Covid-19 pandemic, but Jonathan was satisfied with the feeling of his Ninja ZX-10RR race machine during FP1 and set the fastest time of the session, 1m 31.281.

Rea and his team made some machine set-up changes for FP2, working on all-important full race tyre life. This circuit is one of the hardest on the calendar for tyres, with the bikes spending a lot of time on the left side during high speed cornering. Jonathan found improvements in tyre performance to record a fast single lap, a tenth of a second quicker than the mornng session, but could also maintain a fast pace over a longer distance as well.

Jonathan Rea said: “We had a really solid day, and especially the start to the day. We had a good guesstimate of the spring balance and set-up needs, and the bike was working quite well. But, I also felt we could really improve. For the second session we made a big geometry change on the bike, back to what we had in the middle of the season. We improved the tyre consumption and the natural turning, but we just need to fix the spring balance of the bike now. Overall, there are a few issues we need to fix for tomorrow, in finishing the corner and also throttle connection in some areas. Just tweaks. We analysed front and rear tyre options, and I am quite clear with the front choice. With the rear I am still in between two options for the race. I did a lot of laps today to understand the tyres and give the guys some good info to improve. I think we can be fast enough with our one lap pace for Superpole.”