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WorldSBK Aragon: Rea determined to bounce back despite 'crucial mistake'

For a rider who had cracked the existing track best lap time in Superpole, even at a circuit with a Ducati-friendly long straight, Jonathan Rea seemed in good shape to at least stay with his main championship challenger Scott Redding for all 18 laps of race one.

And so it was early in the opening race despite not being able to break free from the dogged Redding, and then still in decent condition to win by not allowing Redding to go away from him when the Ducati man had blasted into the lead. Even though Rea led at the end of lap one he had a terrible start by his standards.

“A disaster. I anticipated the lights for the first time in my life and they didn’t go. So then I waited, and they went so it was a delayed reaction again so I am a bit frustrated at myself because I ruined that pole position, as the idea was to go.


“But I was first at the end of the first lap. I was third at one point but I was able to make some good passes. Scott came past early and for me it was just relax, actually and let him do the work.”

It was all going to plan until a small but vital mistake from Rea near the end of the 18-lap race. Rea felt he had enough left to keep up his challenge and then try to pass Redding, but he ran wide into T12, and that had a double whammy effect on his potential to win.

“Yes – at that point I was starting to plan,” said Rea about his late race competitiveness. “I already had one look in T3-4, and I released the brake just to feel, because it is one area where you could surprise somebody and maybe try to make a gap where I was strong. But, then I just got suckered in.

“I could feel the previous few laps he was struggling a little bit to stop, but when he would hook second gear, from that point to the turn-in point I was much faster. The initial trail-braking areas was very similar but as soon as you start to release the brake and turn in we could stop better.

“hen I got to that point I was so close I thought ‘I have to go to the right and release the brake’ and I lost a lot of time.”

Not only did this allow Redding the breathing space out front that he had been denied by Rea’s experience and doggedness, but it allowed the already closing Davies to get to Rea more quickly and pass him to take second place.

“It is a crucial mistake I made but there is a lot of racing left and it is one of Chaz’s great tracks and with his pace over the weekend I expected him to be setting the pace,” said Rea. “Scott did an awesome job because he came from nowhere. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Rea had arrived at Motorland having overturned a strong Redding championship lead from Jerez with a triple winning performance at Portimao. But hid first race Aragon punches came as a quick Ducati one-two with Davies finishing a close second to Redding.

Rea set his 25th career Superpole marker on Saturday morning, with a 1’48.860 and that was the only sub-1’49 lap of practice. He is not worried about poles, just race wins, but with 11 of those poles coming along during 2019 and into the short 2020 season, he is clearly getting better at finding ultimate pre-race pace.


“We only get one qualifying on the weekend but we get three races, or in the past two races,” said Rea. “I am getting better now as I am getting older but I have never been the best qualifying guy. I have been very good and constant. But I have been growing up in an era with Tom Sykes and he has been incredible at pole position. I prefer to have more races than poles, to be fair.”

Although the net result was losing too many championship points to Redding, Rea was more competitive for longer than some had thought before even arriving in Spain. It is not all about top speed at Aragon but it is important, as is drive out of the corner that leads onto it, even of it does start off downhill.

Coming out of the last corner I felt just OK. Until I got to sort of the level part of the straight I felt really good and we had good traction but then I would lose a little bit. Enough for him to drive alongside me and make a block pass into T1. But we just lost too much on entry and down the back straight.

“I am sure a little bit is aerodynamics but also a lot is power. I have mixed emotions because I am happy with the job we done but I am sure I will be frustrated when I watch the race back because it is clear that in the first three sectors we have very strong and catch everything we lost in that split four.”

A sprint race and than second full race and await the riders on Sunday at Motorland.

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