DAY TO FORGET: Rea explains Race 2 clash with Vierge, Redding; made "stupid mistake" in Superpole Race

Sunday, 1 October 2023 15:37 GMT

Sunday at Portimao is one Jonathan Rea will want to put out of his head quickly after two crashes and a penalty disrupted his afternoon

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) apologised to Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) and Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) after a Race 2 collision on the opening lap at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. The incident happened at Turn 3 for the final MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship encounter of the day for the Pirelli Portuguese Round although all three riders were able to recover to the points. It was the Ulsterman’s second crash of the day after he came off his machine on the opening lap of the Tissot Superpole Race, a mistake he described as “stupid”.

Rea made two errors on Sunday. The first came in the Superpole Race when he crashed on his own at Turn 5 on the opening lap, narrowly avoiding Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) ahead of him. At the same time, but in a separate incident, the six-time Champion’s teammate, Alex Lowes, went down with both KRT riders retiring from the race. This then put them 10th and 11th on the grid for Race 2, although Lowes was later declared unfit following the crash.

In Race 2, Rea made contact with Vierge and Redding when braking for the right-hand Turn 3 hairpin. All three were able to continue, with the #45 and #65 able to stay on their bikes, although Vierge did come off his CBR1000RR-R before re-joining. The trio were able to bounce back and scoring points with Rea tenth after serving a Long Lap Penalty for causing the collision and Redding and Vierge in 14th and 15th respectively.

Explaining the two incidents and apologising to his competitors, Rea said: “I made errors in both races, so it’s been a very disappointing day. Starting with the Superpole Race, I felt that if I had a chance to win another race before the end of the season, it was there in that race. I was potentially too aggressive in the first laps. I felt ‘Loka’ was quite conservative in Turn 5 and I pounced but, as I was getting closer to the corner, that gap was closing. I put myself more at risk than him. I ran in there a bit hot on the inside and took a bit of kerb. Obviously, it’s very easy to do; my teammate followed in as well. As stupid a mistake as it was for me, I’m sorry for him because line of sight dragged him in there. It was the end of my race.

“That had a knock-on on Race 2, starting from way back in P10. I was in a position in Turn 3 where everything was closing in. I arrived there quite fast. Jumped on both brakes and could do nothing to avoid Xavi Vierge so the first thing I did when I pulled my helmet off was go and find him in Parc Ferme and apologise. I’m so sorry to destroy his race and that of Scott Redding’s. I haven’t seen Scott yet, but it was a mistake on my behalf. I took my Long Lap Penalty and tried not to give up, tried to keep my lap times consistent and bring my bike home to take some points home for the Championship. The big picture is we’re still racing for third in the Championship. That’ll go down to Jerez.”

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