Top Ten For Rea After Day One At Imola

Jonathan Rea finished in seventh place overall on the first day of practice at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola.

Both opening track sessions today were held in hot and humid conditions as WorldSBK returned to Imola after four years away. The established order was reshuffled after an FP2 session that featured no fewer than three red flags, interrupting the planned practice schedule for many teams and riders.

The 4.936km Imola track surface proved to be less grippy than the last time WorldSBK had raced there, especially in the intensely hot conditions, which were a major factor holding back the opening day lap times. Track temperatures rose to over 50°C in the afternoon.

Rea had been within 0.003 seconds of first place in the opening FP1 session, but had a slow crash into the final chicane with 30 minutes left to run in FP2, stopping the session. Jonathan was able to return to the pits and then complete the session but seventh place overall was the best he could achieve.

Jonathan Rea said: “I love this track it has a nice feeling. You can forget after so long since we have been here that to go fast at Imola you have to be 100% committed. So it just takes some time to get your confidence and then when you are fast and committed, the lap time starts coming. In the afternoon session there were a lot of red flags. My rhythm was really good in the beginning of the session, when everyone used the race option tyres. Then at the end, as the soft option tyres were going in, I didn’t feel so good. I crashed when I changed front tyre and I didn’t feel good with that option, and also the electronics were not so good in the final chicane. I lost a bit of confidence but at the end we put in an SCX rear tyre and was able to improve a little bit. We started this weekend with the bike set-up from 2019, in terms of chassis balance, but of course the bike has evolved. On Saturday we are going to go to more of a 2023 set-up. We will try again to fine tune the electronics and make a step, especially in the engine braking side, as stopping for the chicanes is very important here. I just want to give myself that little bit more confidence for Saturday.”