Jonathan Rea said his 61st career race win in WorldSBK was for his mechanics, mainly as they had rebuilt a crashed bike for him after his Friday fall. He had been too confident, he said of his crash, and paid for it on a tricky blind corner entry under trail braking.
On Friday he stated, after that unexpected travel into the gravel, “As a team we are going to look at how we can find some margin in that area, right in the trail braking because he has built a bike that has given me so much confidence in that area. So we are trying to stable the bike up straight up and down so that I do not have to be so critical on trail braking. I was enjoying it a bit too much and finding the limit.”
Rea’s team gave him a revised set-up for morning warm up on Saturday, but Rea went back to the same settings he had on his bike when he fell, for race one. “It was human error,” he confirmed for his crash. “I was feeling so strong, with so much confidence, and it was a gentle reminder that that was the limit.
"I had been having moments and having moments, playing with the bike, and it caught me off guard. I felt like an idiot, because it did not need to happen. Lap ten on the tyre and I was doing 1’23 lows, so it was just kind of powerful. So it was just a little reminder that it was enough.”
His team obviously built his bike back together properly, as he was again untouchable over race distance, even if Davies’ record pace was an unpleasant surprise for him in the early laps. “His pace was really fast and I did not have much more. Today Chaz stepped right up. To do 1’23.0 like he did in that temperature is going some. The plan was just to be there and stay there and at the end of the race it may come to me.”
Why he could run away from Davies was also something to do with his biggest rival’s set-up, hinted Rea. “I think we can make both tyres work it looks like they are struggling to make the bigger one work. That was the difference. I knew I would be good all race compared to the rest. My mechanics told me on the grid that Chaz had this small tyre. It is very good when the grip is there; very agile. But with more rubber on the big tyre the durability is a little bit better.
"I was telling myself just to stay there and when he made the mistake it was enough for me to say to myself that, “Ok, now it’s my time. I thought if he was going to be there with five to go, he has made it work like a miracle. But with five to go I had a nice lead to manage the rest.”
Rea had intended to go away early if possible and he made some attempted passes in the first two or three laps before settling in - until Davies ran wide.
“The idea was to go away because my pace all weekend has been stronger than everyone so I thought I had the pace to go today, but Chaz really stepped up,” said Rea. “It sort of blindsided us how strong he was. When he did the lap record I thought, ‘wow, this is going to be a race!’ I was sitting there - but I was having to ‘go.’ It was fun. He was doing a good job.
"It is really easy to follow at this track, especially in that ‘bomb hole’ going up the hill. Going in there yourself, with no reference, is really scary, to be honest because there is no room for error. With Chaz in front of me I could be a little bit faster in that sector three, but by myself I was OK in the other sectors, but in that one I was a little bit more shy.”