Six-time Champion Jonathan Rea was quick at Jerez as he tried different components on his R1 to be ready for the start of the season
Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) took second place of Day 2 at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto after another strong outing in Yamaha blue. In his third test for the team, the six-time Champion was close to his 2019 lap record as he gears up for the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with Yamaha after his shock switch to blue. Although he was unable to top the times, his pace being close to the record will give everyone at Yamaha confidence heading into next week’s Portimao test.
Rea set a 1’38.345s to secure second spot, only behind rookie Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who was unstoppable on Thursday at Jerez. The Italian was four tenths under the existing lap record set by Rea back in 2019, but the Ulsterman was not far off that either. His time was just a tenth away from the 1’38.247s he set back in the Tissot Superpole session in 2019, with Rea setting his time on his 21st lap of the day today. He completed 78 in total on Day 2 and was left feeling positive at the end of the day.
“My feelings with the R1 are really good,” he began when reviewing the test. “Right from the first time I rode the bike back in November last year, I felt comfortable. I could feel the strengths of the bike and some of the areas we needed to work on. This test was more a case of picking up where we left it last November, trying a lot of test items. I think we struggled to make so much progress on Day 1 because we were trying so many items on some key areas, but last night, when the guys sat down, they were able to go through all the data and really understood the way forward. This morning, I felt great straight away. We’ve done a lot of positive laps, we’ve learnt a lot, and we’re happy with the progress and the findings we have to move onto Portugal.”
Yamaha have had lots of items for Rea, and teammate Andrea Locatelli, to try throughout off-season testing including a couple of swingarm variations at Jerez. Although Rea didn’t go into detail about the swingarms he had available to him, he did speak about a direction that he liked as he goes in search of a good base setup for the season-opening round in Australia, which takes place in just under a month.
On the upgrades that Yamaha are bringing, Rea said: “There’s a clear direction that I like, which is good. Yamaha have been working really hard behind closed doors to move the package forwards and I feel really grateful to be part of that. Sometimes it’s hard being a rider because you have to do a lot of laps out there, but you have to be at a very exact rhythm and get really clear and concise feedback. These are hard parts we’ll probably start the year with and become our base setup, so feedback’s important. Today, I tried my best to give really accurate information because Portimao will be a track we re-confirm some items, re-test some items but we have to be very clear about the package we’ll go to Australia with.”
Follow the 2024 season in style using the comprehensive WorldSBK VideoPass!