"Great fight … he won the battle which I didn’t like so much!" – Rea, Aegerter discuss Race 1 scrap

Saturday, 3 June 2023 14:40 GMT

Six-time Champion Jonathan Rea and rookie Dominique Aegerter went head-to-head for fifth place in Race 1 at Misano

There was plenty of action in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) battled it out for fifth place. The pair were separated by just a few tenths at the end of the race as they scrapped it out, with Rea able to hold on ahead of the rookie to deny him a top-five finish.

The pair were barely separable throughout the 20-lap race as Aegerter searched for a way through on the six-time Champion although he was unable to make a move. On the penultimate lap, Aegerter tried to force his way through at Turn 14 but he ran wide and allowed Rea back through with the cutback. On the final lap, Aegerter tried again to pass Rea, this time into Turn 8, but Rea was wise to his attack and once again cut back to maintain position. At this point, Aegerter dropped a few tenths back from Rea and although he closed the gap, was unable to make a pass.

Reflecting on their battle, Rea said: “It was a great fight at the end, we swapped positions a few times at the end. Of course, it’s not the battle you want to be in during the last laps, but I put everything in to try to take the maximum points. My race from the beginning was quite strong and I felt I was there with Toprak and the private Ducatis. I was focusing on them, trying to be there, but they broke me, and I was on my own with Dominique 0.1 all race. I just had to focus on myself and I started to nurse the bike in the areas I was struggling in. I tried to anticipate where he was going to pass as well because the gap was that small, I knew he was going to attack at some point. Luckily enough, I was able to be clean enough to make the cutbacks each time he came through. I knew if I could lead onto the middle straight from Turn 6 to 8, if I can brake on my limit and get the bike stopped… he can steaming past and I thought ‘oooh, good luck… if he could get that stop, he deserves it!’. It was the move that just made that last lap a bit more comfortable.”

Aegerter was able to use the opportunity to learn from someone who has six World Championships to their name as well as 118 race wins and 249 podiums but he was disappointed not to come out on top against Rea, despite it being only his fifth round in WorldSBK. He said: “I think we started well. The race was long and hot, and I didn’t know what to expect exactly with these conditions with the tyres, because I crashed on Friday when I wanted to do the long run. I learnt a lot when I was behind Jonny. He knows how to defend well and manage the tyres. I was trying to overtake him a few times, but I was also on the limit. I went wide. The battle was quite nice but, of course, he won the battle which I didn’t like so much!”

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