Honda Racing's Jonathan Rea has asked his crew to find some more speed from the 2012 Fireblade following a brace of good finishes at the Phillip Island World Superbike opener which saw him take fifth in the championship standings despite tyre woes in both races.
The Isle of Man resident put together a solid performance in the opener but feels he was given a duff tyre by Pirelli which restricted him to a seventh-place finish. In the second race, he was challenging for a podium spot but had to give best to Tom Sykes when his rear grip fell off a cliff with five laps to go.
"We’ve still got a bagful of points to go on to Imola with but we wanted to be on the podium in both races. I honestly feel like we got a bad tyre in race one and in race two we didn’t want to run in the same situation, so we were thinking about changing the tyre, but all our logic and race runs throughout the weekend told us to keep this [harder] tyre in the heat," said the Irishman.
"Directly, I had more grip – OK, the temperature was even hotter, which would go against our logic – but the tyre felt like it should feel and I was able to ride strong and consistent until probably five laps to go when durability fell off and I was going backwards. I felt fresh and strong in both races and the guys have worked well all weekend. We had a little crash on Saturday and the boys worked so good with the one-bike rule to get us back out there. You have to think that this circuit is a bit unique with the tyre character, how long you’re on the side and the heat generated in the tyre.
"Now we move on to some tracks that are good for us and there’s a lot of work to do back at base. The guys need to find some speed, so that’s on the agenda; I’ve just done a de-brief and everything feels OK. I want to say thanks to everyone for all their help this weekend – it feels good to get to the start of the season fit and healthy and I’m looking forward to round two now."