The chase for seventh heaven is in blue for Rea in 2024 and after just two tests, he’s feeling a special vibe
2024 continues to build and the second test of the off-season is done for Jonathan Rea (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. The Spanish venue is always a well-frequented testbed and despite a bit of cloud and dampness in the morning, conditions came good for the middle of the day onwards, bringing more valuable track time to the six-time World Champion. With swingarm items and new Ohlins material on the agenda for day two, according to team principal Paul Denning who spoke at the end of day one, Rea’s adaptation continued, with a lap time of 1'38.592, just 0.145s slower than teammate Andrea Locatelli but more than six tenths quicker than he managed in his first test.
“SOME VERY INTERESTING ITEMS GOING FORWARD” – improvement continue for Rea with Yamaha
Speaking at the end of the test, Rea was happy with the progress made, saying: “It's been really positive and I've really enjoyed riding the bike at this test, especially on day one when the temperature was warmer than expected and similar to the race. We were able to get a lot of work done. I had 3 bikes to try different options on and loads of different parts. We never managed to put everything together to be perfect but we still have a lot of time and we got through the main test items. We managed just about everything on the list; some items we can discard, some very interesting going forwards.
“I DON’T FEEL LIKE I’VE FOUND THE LIMIT” – more to come as Rea teases major pace
There was a big declaration from Rea, with the six-time WorldSBK Champion already comfy: “I completed the test with a race simulation which was positive; the more laps I do on the R1, the more I understand it and how it behaves in certain conditions and also, the more confidence I get. I don't feel like I've found the limit with the bike yet. I'm understanding the last part of braking but I feel competitive already. We did 173 laps and 766km so the guys did well. Big thanks to all the mechanics: they work so hard, working with three bikes and a lot of changes. It's been an intense but very valuable couple of days. It's a nice way to sign off 2023, everyone can go back and everyone can get a good rest until the next test at the end of January.”
“WE’RE WORKING ON ALL AREAS” – acceleration gains just part of the puzzle
Talking about the development of the bike and where is still to improve, the #65 stated that it was more a matter of understanding more: “Of course, we're working on all areas of the bike, not just acceleration. We still need to improve but compared to the first test with Yamaha but I feel we've already made a step. A lot of it is down to electronic preferences and how to get off the corner and really trusting in the engine characteristics of the R1.”
“THE BIGGEST AREA OF IMPROVEMENT OF IS ME!” – more time needed!
“Moving forward, I think the biggest area of improvement is still me,” said a humorous Rea, rounding off his evaluation of the test. “I have more of an understanding but I still need to tailor the bike to me. I have a lot of confidence with the bike now but still need to ride on that limit. I found much better front feeling than at the previous test. I think an area we can try to focus to improve is traction from a bike and chassis setup perspective and just tailor it to my riding style, it's a bit different to the other riders. I've been so impressed with Yamaha; the amount of items we commented on at the first test and they have addressed every one of them at this test. Step by step, it's been a positive test with no mistakes.”
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