Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea experienced major problems with his CBR1000RR Fireblade in Monza today, and things came to a head in race two, when clutch issues forced the Isle of Man resident into the pits on lap five, putting an abrupt end to a disappointing World Superbike race weekend.
Rea and his team are now investigating what went wrong with his bike in the second outing and things did not go to plan for Rea in race one either. The Northern Irishman enjoyed a good start from the second row of the grid but, on the second lap, a missed gear on the exit of Monza’s infamous first chicane dropped him down the order.
In a bid to get back on terms, the 26-year-old ran on at the same corner eight laps later and clipped a safety bale, for which he was awarded a penalty and ordered to drop two places. Rea made those two places back over the last three laps to finish eighth at the flag.
In race two, clutch problems forced his retirement early in the race as his team-mate, Kosuke Akiyoshi, who earlier finished 14th in race one, crashed out unhurt at Lesmo 2. The Japanese rider was standing in for the injured Leon Haslam, who is still recovering from a leg injury.
“It’s been a tough day and I don’t feel like we got what we deserved today. It was clear I had pace all weekend but, unfortunately, in a race situation, while I had pace by myself, when I tried to capitalise on my strengths in the race, I couldn’t run the same corner speed. It made it difficult to pass people and that was upsetting my already good entry speed by braking too late," said Rea.
"So in race one I learned a lot but in race two, again I made a good start, but straight away I had some problem with the bike. I thought maybe I should adjust the clutch but, to be honest, the guys are still looking into it and investigating because I don’t think that’s the only problem. It’s hard to say we can leave here with our heads held high.
"When I’m on my own I’m actually enjoying riding the bike and we’ve made massive gains, but it’s hard to stomach an eighth place from a weekend. But, we move on to Donington I’ll try and keep my head up and remain positive like the rest of the guys and hopefully come back stronger."