Jonathan Rea had to work for his three WorldSBK wins at Assen and even after a confident, controlled and finally clear win on Saturday he and his team were thinking, thinking, always thinking. How to do better?
With truly epic overnight rains that flooded some garages when drains overflowed, and also put some corners underwater on the track itself, the conditions for the miraculously salvaged track surface were cooler and slightly less grippy than on Saturday.
Hence Rea and his crew changed the bike set-up again, especially their tyre choice. On Saturday Rea had used softer and even full development softer options that not many others fancied and took the race win. It was an unusual tyre choice for him, compared to the old days at least.
Today, it was a switch back to a harder rear non SCX tyre that made the difference just for a few changes in the conditions.
“We changed the tyre,” said Rea. “Just with the overnight rain, the grip level was a little bit lower and the temperature was maybe three, four degrees lower. We figured that would be the crossover point to run the (softer) 557 or the SC0.
“But, nice to win yesterday with the soft and today with the standard race tyre. It’s a massive testament to the guys in the box and what they’ve done. We made quite a big chassis setup change this weekend with the geometry of the bike, wheelbase.
“It seems much easier to ride. I think you could see with my passes, I could put the bike where I wanted. Very nimble, and stable in the fast sections as well. Just looking forward to the layout of the next track at Most. I think we’re going to need that. Also Navarra is a very quirky track in the last sector. You need to really turn the bike. Happy with the info we’ve got here and move on.”
Rea had made a sortie onto the track early on Sunday morning and was amazed at what he saw - water on the track everywhere. He was even more amazed at seeing it all fixed, drained and cleaned. The warm-up sessions were 45 minutes late, the opening ten lap sprint - that Rea won, of course - was ten minutes late in getting away but that was it, the maximum of the scope of the disturbance felt by what looked like a situation that could have called off the meeting.
“I went over there first thing this morning just to check how much rain there was last night,” said Rea. “There was a lake on the inside of turn five. So massive, massive respect to the track, Assen. They had so many machines there, two firetrucks, three tankers, Race Direction. I think we were only delayed by 45 minutes, but there was so much water on the track. So, they did an incredible job.”
Even some pit garages had standing water inside. “My guys had to mop out,” said Rea. “The carpet is still wet. I took a sleep aid last night so I didn’t really hear much, but when I woke up this morning I could tell there was a lot of rain.”