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Aragon WorldSBK: 'I needed a clear track to be fast' - Rea

After one of his best-ever WorldSBK wins, overcoming a plainly faster Ducati/Bautista combination on the main straight that leads to the final corner in race one at Motorland, Jonathan Rea and his 2022-tweaked Kawasaki were kings of the hill, in a region of Spain with plenty of them dotted around the landscape.

A very different story on day two, however, when it looked like we had been transported back to 2019 - with Alvaro Bautista dominant on a Ducati and Rea finishing second because he had not real choice in the matter.

Rea even said that he was best of the rest, but he felt he could have done more in the final two Motorland races if he could have got free from the other podium hopefuls.


Rea denied Bautista simply had too much pace for him, even though Bautista’s second-race speed was really something else.

“No, again, like yesterday, like this morning, I just got involved,” said Rea, ruing his many fights in the leading four that let Bautista escape. “I felt like my pace was similar to Alvaro’s, but in clear track.

"Rinaldi and Toprak were so excited to take track position. I just really struggled to do my rhythm. I needed clear track to be fast. It was a long time to get that. The race was very aggressive again. I made quite a few mistakes. It was windy out there. The wind changed direction, so while yesterday we had a big tailwind in the straight, today it was more of a headwind pushing in T1, as well. But, happy with the results.

If I had this on Monday, I would have signed, knowing the length of the straight here, the pace of Alvaro through the testing, and Toprak. Rinaldi… I think it was his first race win here with Go Eleven. So, it’s a strong track for him. To be best of the rest today, I have to be really happy and we move forward to Assen.”

The margin of victory of Bautista in race two was not the epic ten-second and more margins of early 2019 times, but stiff enough. Rea was positive and optimistic.

“It’s acceptable,” he said, in summary, “Yesterday, hard to say. The bike was doing the job, let’s says. He was there. I think strategy-wise I was just a little bit better in the race, but today he knew that his opportunity was to go in the front with clear air and hope that there was a bit of chaos behind, and that’s what happened. Congrats to him. He did a really good first lap.

"Both races quite aggressive in the first laps, especially in T1 in the Superpole race. He got clear track. He did what I expected, to be honest. My race was just tough because, like I said, Michael was excited. Toprak was excited. Then it became more of a battle about second. There was one point in that long race where I thought, ‘maybe I’m just here.’ But I got to Rinaldi and then I got past Rinaldi and made a mistake in T1, made a mistake in the corkscrew.

"By that stage I had used a lot of tyre because I wasn’t flowing with my lines. I was stop and go and really pushing the tyres. Not many changes overnight, to be honest. The bike was quite the same, but the behaviour of the rear tyre was quite different. Yesterday I felt like I had so much grip from lap one to 18, and today was more of a normal feeling with the tyre drop. Strange, because the temperature was 27, 28 yesterday, and today 33, 34, 35 by the end of the race. So just this difference made it a little bit more difficult.”

Rea’s fight with Rinaldi, who even looked like he could stay with Bautistas on Sunday at one point, we tough and Rinaldi appeared irritated with his treatment at one stage, and also waved for Rea to stay behind at one stage too. Did Rea realise Rinaldi was making his feelings known?

“No, I didn’t think he was mad,” said rider number 65, with a little barb at the Ducati’s pace thrown in. “I have to race hard. I can’t wait to T14, T15 and just have a clean pass. I need to fight for every corner. If I upset him, sorry. It’s how I need to race. It’s not going to change.”


Rea was pushed wide in T1 by Rinaldi at one stage, but Rea had some mitigating circumstances to declare. “He made not a silly mistake, but the wind changed,” stated Rea. “We had a tailwind in T1. All week we’ve had a headwind in T1. So, for reference for example it was the white line for braking, but today it was the bridge.

"I don't know what he was thinking because he came from miles and braked so late. Then it took me a while, and off the track giving more space to Bautista. He had a good pace, to be honest. He was catching Bautista at one stage. Like I said, they’re a bit young and excited and he felt like he had the pace.”

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