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‘Super difficult day’ for Jonathan Rea after gremlins, full confidence team can solve issues

Gold & Goose

Jonathan Rea cut a disappointed figure at the end of the opening day of free practice for the opening round of the 2024 WorldSBK Championship at Phillip Island after technical gremlins compounded a tough week for the six-time title-winner.

Making his debut with the Pata PROMETEON Yamaha team this weekend after almost a decade of success with the Kawasaki Racing Team, Rea has endured a troubled build-up to proceedings after a painful crash during the official pre-season test and a general lack of confidence on the R1 package at the Aussie venue.

It’s an issue that would continue to hangover into Friday practice with Rea being consigned to the pit-lane for lengthy periods in an effort to solve gremlins that he says were making the machine difficult to ride.


As such, Rea was off the pace when he did eventually venture on track towards the end of the quicker FP2 session, the Ulsterman unusually far down the order in 16th place, though only a second off the top pace.

Writing on Instagram, Rea admits he is not enjoying the start to his Yamaha adventure that he expected, but maintains he full confidence in the Crescent Racing-run team to find a solution before the business end of the weekend begins on Saturday.

“Super difficult day, as you could see I didn’t do many laps on track - not only due to the weather,” he wrote, adding he was not being hampered by the leg injury he sustained in his testing crash. 

“We suffered some issues straight away this morning, probably continued on from the test and struggled to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. 

“The guys are still trying to understand why the bike was very difficult to ride - we’ve been changing the set-up and trying to get on top of it. 

“It’s not exactly how I imagined ‘day one’ of the season to start but we are where we are and I have full confidence in the team that we can find the root of this issue and be stronger tomorrow.”

While Rea admits he still hasn’t found the limit of the R1 package, which was otherwise right up at the sharp end in the hands of team-mate Andrea Locatelli, he feels he can start afresh on Saturday. 

“Of course, I still have some growing to do with the R1 so now is the time to be calm and if tomorrow I can roll out of the pit-lane as ‘day zero’ as they say and I can find the rhythm fast enough, I say with optimism that we can fight for a good result.”

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