Rea ‘needs to improve all over’ at Misano, did missing the Misano Test hinder him on Friday?

Friday, 2 June 2023 14:46 GMT

The six-time World Champion took ninth spot in the combined classification on Friday at Misano with his best time, from FP2, good enough for eighth in the session

Track action in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship got underway on Friday at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round with two Free Practice sessions. At the end of the two sessions, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished ninth in the combined classification on his ZX-10RR, lapping 0.888s slower than pacesetter Alvaro Bautista’s ( Racing – Ducati) best time.

Rea’s best lap came in Free Practice 2 when he set a 1’34.713s with the six-time World Champion only able to find around a tenth of a second from his best Free Practice 1 time which was a 1’34.864s. He completed a total of 42 laps across both 45-minute sessions and he was one of the busiest riders on track on Friday, with only Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) completing more laps than Rea.

In Free Practice 2, Rea completed a 20-lap stint of representative lap times, almost matching a full race distance at Misano, with the majority of his laps in the 1’35s although a few did dip into the 1’34s. His best lap of that run came on Lap 6. His best time of the session, and the day, came on his 25th lap of FP2 and it was his final lap of the day as he posted a 1’34.713s which put him ninth in the combined classification, and eighth in FP2.

Reflecting on the day, and where he’s looking for improvements, Rea said: “Generally, all over but for me, I need to finish the corners a bit better, and for the acceleration areas, the bike needs to accelerate more. I’m really struggling in sector two which is where the acceleration towards Quercia and the exit before Tromonto. In the last sector, I’m not so good and I don’t understand why. We need to go over the data compared to previous years because I felt better there last year. Honestly, I haven’t looked through the classification so, I don’t know the pace of the others. The goal is always the podium and try to be as close to it as possible and pick up good points for my Championship and try to improve the bike. That has to be our main focus for tomorrow.”

The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK opted to send a smaller team to the Supported Test at Misano a few weeks ago, with Jonathan Rea and teammate Alex Lowes not in attendance and test rider Florian Marino taking over responsibilities. Instead, the team conduced a one-day test at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto to ensure they could test in hot conditions.

Explaining whether missing the test hindered him on Friday, Rea said: “It was a little bit difficult getting up to speed after missing the test a few weeks ago, which meant that we had to find the way a bit this morning. In the afternoon, we focused on a long run to see how the tyre would be for tomorrow. We had some issues in FP1 which took time to understand why we weren’t performing so well, but once we understood that, we were able to work away. These are things we could’ve ironed out at the test to really understand. It was a learning day. For day one, we are where we expected to be.”

Can Rea fight for the podium or victory at Misano? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!