Triumphant return to Brno for the defending champion, who dominated in dry conditions
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was back on top at the end of Friday at the Acerbis Czech Round, a familiar feeling for the Northern Irish rider who has led (or co-led, as was the case at Imola) the last three Free Practice days this season. Over two tenths of a second faster than his teammate in second, the defending champion was in top form again at Brno for Round 7 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
Things didn’t quite go to plan for Rea in FP1 however, with the KRT rider left wanting more track time. With mixed conditions out around Brno and the track slowly but surely drying throughout the session, Rea only recorded four laps before heading back to his box, settling for seventh best. But by FP2 the championship leader was back on top, rising to the occasion by taking the first sub-two-minute lap of the weekend.
Rea was testing his bike here with several other riders little over a month ago, and the three-time champion was thankful for that extra Brno experience: “It’s lucky we came here for a test after Assen. I feel like the setup for the bike is quite good, we just tried some different rear setups. It’s hard to know if it’s positive or not because it looks like the pace we had, compared to the test, was quite slow, especially in that FP3”.
Times were mostly slower in FP3, with just eight riders improving their FP2 results. One of those was Rea however, who seems to enjoy the flowing hills of Brno: “The track has a lot of big open corners, where you can understand the grip level from the beginning and ride on the gas on the way out. It’s really nice, a real rider’s circuit, but one where you need a really good setup with the bike to work, to find those last half seconds”.
“That’s the target overnight, to try and chip away and get faster for tomorrow”, adds Rea, who will be aiming for yet another front row start. He climbed to the top of the rostrum at the Czech Republic in Race 1, 2010 – could a second win, the one to finally beat Carl Fogarty’s WorldSBK record, be on the cards tomorrow?
Find out how the defending champion fares at Brno tomorrow, starting with the Superpole sessions at 10:30 local time (08:30 GMT), thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.