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Rea back on track tomorrow as WorldSBK winter testing continues

Once again six-times champion Jonathan Rea left a Jerez winter test session as the fastest rider, and once again he even beat the best lap time of a MotoGP bike he shared the track with and he is back for more tomorrow at Motorland Arago

Rea’s 1’38.324 was achieved on a qualifying rear tyre, and on a bike with a new fairing shape. With two bikes at his disposal at this test, to allow-back-to-back testing, Rea was on top form again.

“I felt good and we tried many things,” said Rea about the last day of action, when a new-look Kawasaki exterior was unveiled.


As well as the obvious bodywork change, Rea also had other things to try. “We had a linkage, rear shock settings, front fork setting, some brake components. A front tyre for Pirelli and engine character – so it was a very busy day. I felt good and we had a lot of positive feedback from the items we tested.

“The biggest challenge I had in this test was that I could not be super-fast with a fresh tyre. Normally when we put a new tyre in our bike we get a lot of performance. But I seemed to be more fast with like a race distance tyre than a fresh one. With an SCX tyre I could be really fast from the first lap but with a standard race tyre I kept my rhythm. It is a very good problem to have but it is a strange one for us. Maybe we need to load the tyre more because it is illogical that I can do my personal best lap time at lap 17 with a race tyre. We will just keep working like that.”

Rea and his team-mate Alex Lowes will test again tomorrow at Aragon, before everybody shuts up testing shop for the winter development cycle to start again in earnest.

In terms of the evolution of his overall set-up Rea said, “There is a lot more difference than what you can see, which takes time – time to understand the feeling. In the end the connection between throttle, to engine, to rear tyre with suspension, is the most important. In the last years I had a very good feeling and today we still need to grow up this feeling.”

Rea spent some of the first day trying to figure out aspects of engine character, but on day to much less so, from his comments after the final test session had been completed. “We parked that feeling because my feedback was a little bit confusing,” said Rea, “I feel strange. It has a lot of positives and negatives but I don’t feel I am riding my bike right now. A work in progress.

“It is not bad, we are really close, and even with a race tyre with a lot of laps we are really competitive. It is not like we are looking for something, a miracle at the minute. We are OK, but definitely work to do. We used the SC0 all day today before the Q, when I used an SCX tyre. I checked the performance and I was able to go at - I think a 1’39-low, 1’39.1 - then with the Q tyre I could do 1’38s.

“A 1’38.5 with the first one but with some mistakes, and then a 1’38.3 afterwards with not a perfect lap but a good lap. With the SC0 I could be consistently in the 1’39s.”

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