Jonathan Rea couldn’t hide his frustrations at coming up just short of securing his first dry weather victory in the Aragon WorldSBK after a hard-fought performance in Spain.
The Ulsterman enjoyed stints leading both Race 1 and the Superpole Race after qualifying on pole position, only to be overhauled by Michael Ruben Rinaldi in the former and being overtaken on by Alvaro Bautista the final lap during the latter.
Indeed, it was the Rea’s Superpole Race near-miss that he felt most bitter about, the six-time WorldSBK Champion visibly working hard to cling onto his lead in what was arguably his grittiest performance of the season.
However, he was powerless to prevent Bautista from getting a run on him down the long back straight, the Spaniard sweeping through entering the final corner to take the flag ahead of him.
“I think we can be happy with the whole weekend [but I’m] frustrated because on the rest of the track I was able to put really good sectors together and then on the long drag down to the last corner, you feel like a sitting duck, it’s not ‘if’, it is ‘when’.
“I am surprised a move didn’t come earlier, I was able to shut the door and lead the race from the front. It’s frustrating to lose to Alvaro like that, it was there for the taking but couldn’t convert it. It was a really good battle, one I really enjoyed.”
Going on to struggle more in the hotter temperatures of Race 2, Rea completed his event with a run to fourth place.
“I just feel a bit frustrated but also confused as to why we couldn’t convert the pace we had all weekend to Race 2, the temperature creeping up a little bit, potentially not making that tyre swap on the grid, I felt like a passenger on the bike.
“The Ducatis and Yamahas were simply stronger, we struggled in the heat, so there is some room for improvement.”
Rea now has just two more rounds this year to secure a final victory as a Kawasaki rider before he makes his much anticipated and high-profile switch to Yamaha for the 2024 WorldSBK season.