Rea: "We never nailed the setup perfectly… a very difficult weekend"

Monday, 6 March 2023 08:38 GMT

The six-time Champion scored 13 points across the Indonesian Round and has explained the reasons behind the difficult weekend

As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock moved from Australia to Indonesia for the Motul Indonesian Round, one question being asked was whether Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) would be able to bounce back from a tricky season-opening round. At the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, Rea had another difficult weekend as he scored only 13 points in three races including crashing out of Race 2 when running in the top five.

Rea was fourth in Friday’s Free Practice 2 session, the faster of the two Friday practice sessions, which also put him in the same position in the combined standings. In Saturday’s practice, he took sixth place in the standings before taking fifth place in the Tissot Superpole session although his best time was half-a-second down on polesitter Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK). Despite fifth in Superpole, Rea started Race 1 from eighth place after being given a three-place grid drop by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards for slow riding in Superpole.

The six-time Champion was unable to make progress and was classified in ninth place in Race 1, his worst finish since Race 1 at Magny-Cours last year. In the Superpole Race, starting from fifth, Rea took fourth place behind teammate Alex Lowes but this was also a complicated affair: the race was red flagged after Rea crashed at Turn 2 on Lap 2, a lap after Lowes, Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) and Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) had come together. The pair took to the restarted race from the original positions to take third and fourth.

In Race 2, Rea had been running in the top six in the restarted race and moved up to fifth after passing Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) on Lap 8. However, a lap later, Rea’s race came to an end when he crashed out at the high-speed Turn 7 after losing the front of his ZX-10RR machine. After the round’s action concluded, Rea elaborated on his Indonesian Round and what went wrong for him across the three days of action.

Rea said: “It has been a very difficult weekend, with not so many positives. We, step-by-step, found a better direction. The track here in Mandalika has been quite inconsistent from Friday, when the grip level was really low, but we understood on race day that the grip level was incredibly high. So, we never nailed the setup perfectly, but I felt that we got better. In the races I felt my rhythm was OK but unfortunately in the Superpole Race I found some traffic in front of me and it was very difficult to pass. But I felt my pace was quite good. In Race 2 I lost the front. Not exactly quite sure why, but it is quite windy in that area. I think the wind just picked the front up.

“I am frustrated, and I found it very difficult to pass anyone on acceleration or on the brakes. I was riding over my head sometimes on the brakes and in the corners trying to stay with the group. But we have to accept this tough weekend, try to learn from it and then put it behind us when we head back to Europe. We will have much more information now. So even as we are disappointed, we need to keep our heads up and keep fighting. I feel Assen is a great track to come back to with some strong results.”

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