Jonathan Rea took three top-five finishes across the Emilia-Romagna Round as he missed out on the podium in Italy
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock headed to Italy and the iconic Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the 2023 Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round last weekend and it was a difficult round for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as he claimed fifth in Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race and fourth in Race 2 on Sunday. The six-time Champion is fourth in the Championship standings with 129 points, 21 behind Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and 169 behind Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Rea finished 10 seconds off a podium place in Race 1 on Saturday as he claimed fifth place after a race-long battle with Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Rea was able to withstand the rookie’s pressure but, on the penultimate lap, Aegerter made a move into Turn 14 but ran wide, allowing Rea to cut back ahead of him. Similar happened at Turn 8, with Rea using the cutback move to stay ahead of Aegerter who had ran slightly wide. It meant Rea ended a run of top-four finishes at Misano which stretched back to Race 2 in 2019.
Speaking after Race 1 on Saturday to the media, Rea said: “It’s our reality now, we have to forget the past, the past is the past. We’ve been riding the same bike now as we had many years ago. Everyone’s going faster but we’re scratching the barrel to improve ourselves, and we are improving, that’s the thing. Instead of being happy with a race win, we have to be content with fifth and know we have to work. I don’t like this question every time you ask, ‘how does it feel?’, we are where we are and it’s our reality right now. We have to improve the whole package. We have to stop expecting to win and to be on the podium every weekend, it’s tough to be there. We need to improve; this is our reality.”
On Sunday in Race 2, Rea took fourth place to go one better than he had on Saturday but had issues with his bike while looking to battle Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) for a podium spot, with the Italian holding on for his first rostrum of the season. This time, he was only two seconds off a podium spot but 12 seconds down on Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in second place. It means Misano was the second round this season where Rea did not stand on the podium, along with Indonesia at the start of March.
Reflecting on Race 2, Rea said: “Unfortunately, I couldn’t fight anymore. On the sighting lap, I tried to adjust my brake and the adjustor was stuck. As soon as the brakes heated up, the lever was coming right back to the bar and I couldn’t stop in some areas. I was in the slipstream of Axel and the brakes were overheating, getting too hot and the lever was coming back too much. I couldn’t do much more, honestly. Of course, I felt with the brakes I’m sure I could’ve challenged a bit better. 5-5-4 for the weekend, not what we dreamed of but it’s room for improvement. We need to keep working with our ZX-10RR, trying to bridge the gap to the front. It’s too many seconds now to Alvaro who’s so far ahead. We really need to understand the root of our problems. It seems like we’ve fixed taking some load out of the front. We can save the front tyre but the bike’s not behaving in the same way. Room for improvement.”
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