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Donington WorldSBK: Rea 'frustrated' with own mistake

After some tough fighting and very close action from Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu in WorldSBK race two at Donington it was to be the six-times champion who slipped up, losing the front as he entered Coppice halfway through the 23-lap race and remounting to no-score.

He had won the Superpole race earlier in the day, extending his championship lead after finishing second to Toprak on Saturday, but it all went wrong in spectacular fashion on Sunday afternoon.

As Rea said, it was a day of contrasts. “Bittersweet, really,” he stated. “The Superpole race was mixed conditions. Really stressful on the grid because we seen some guys use the wet tyre. The clear choice was the intermediate, or even slick to be honest if I had to do the race again. From the warm-up lap, most of the track was dry. So I was doing what I could. I built a nice lead and then I was able to maintain that two and a half seconds to the end.”


Rea, ironically, felt he was on a better set-up to take on race two than he had on day one. “We changed the bike quite a lot from yesterday because I was struggling really badly with grip,” said Rea. “The bike wasn’t turning as good. We fixed that in morning warmup. I was really fast in the warmup. Also, when I did the start and Toprak came through quite aggressive where I went down in turn eight.

Then I lost a little bit of time when he came through, and then I made another mistake in the chicane. I just was a little bit faster on the entry than him and I was thinking, ‘I can’t stop, I can’t stop!’ So I had to go a little bit wide and lost time. But I gained that time back really quickly and quite easy as well. I thought, today is for me. Just keep my powder dry, stay there a couple laps - and he made a mistake. Then I put my head down because I had the rhythm, I had the bike, I had the feeling.”

It then went wrong, much to Rea’s surprise. “Just going into Coppice the next lap or a couple laps later, I just got caught out wide on the bumps a little bit. The front unloaded and when I tipped in, I lost the front. Frustrated with myself, but feeling a lot more positive than I did yesterday because yesterday it started to feel like things were getting away. I felt like I didn’t have the tools to fight, but today I really felt like I could take it. I was sat on the bike like, this is my race. But I made a silly mistake. We lost the championship lead four rounds in.”

Rea also knows that as it stands, it is him v Toprak, unless the rest can put in a really consistent challenge. “It’s starting to be clear who the main challengers are,” said Rea. “Toprak and these guys are doing a great job, so I just have to maximise every opportunity now.”

Rea was asked if he was still trail braking when he fell and said yes, but it was maybe more about the bumps at this always challenging part fo the circuit.
“Yeah, but it’s a hard thing because you’re going up a hill,” he said. “This is not an excuse, but we’ve complained. Donington have put lots of patches, and the patches have different grip levels and they dry differently in these conditions like this weekend, but there’s a huge bump there.

"It’s one of them jobs. Either it needs resurfaced or like a motocross grading machine like we have at some tracks to degrade it. But really just unsettled the front. It’s me pushing, as well. I was trying to push to make a gap on Toprak, who has been incredible this weekend. It’s maybe one of my limits and I paid the price.”

Rea rejected the idea that possibly some of his issues in set-up are to do with his new 2021 bike. “No, nothing to do with that, really. Nothing to do with the new bike. It’s a mistake. The bike is a step forward from what we had, but I made a mistake on the bumps there.”

The good news for Rea is that he will approach his absolutely favourite circuit of all, Assen, next time out.

“Yeah, happy hunting ground,” agreed Rea. “Good track and looking forward to it. See how we go. I hear we’ve got some fans as well. The atmosphere this weekend has been great. I want to thank everyone that came out, and I’m also gutted for those that couldn’t. Assen is a good track for us with a good setup, rhythm there. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

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