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WorldSBK Jerez: '60°C track temperature changes things again' – Rea

WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea was not quite fastest on Friday but his strong race pace indicates that he was concentrating on handling the hot 20 laps races he will face – as well as one ten lapper on Sunday morning.

But the Kawasaki man warned that even though he had found something that worked in today's temperatures over race distance, if the tarmac gets over 60°C, it could all change again.

“With a time attack I do not know what we could do. Of course, in the wintertime the times are very close to MotoGP with a qualifying tyre but today it is just race tyre time,” Rea told bikesportnews.com.


“Let’s see what qualifying brings tomorrow but with this temperature I do not expect the performance to be as fast as maybe the winter or even earlier in the season when we had the race last year.

"Let's see tomorrow – if the sun gets out and gets to 60 degrees it changes things again. You have just got to pay attention again to the weather.”

Weather means heat here, and on Saturday things look to be even warmer. So qualifying is not something that has exercised Rea too much, given his experience of his bike and team. But tyres have already been a question mark, partly as there is a new one to try at the rear.

“Normally our bike has good mechanical traction so that means when we put grip, with a new tyre in the bike, it uses it very well,” said Rea.  

“In Superpole we have 25 minutes so normally that means we check the race tyre, the SCX, the softer one, and then a Q tyre at the end. It is positive and negative but with Pirelli bringing three rear option rear tyres, plus this SCX pre-qualifying tyre – you never have enough time in the weekend to understand everything with the tyres.

I need to put some laps on that SX, as that could be a potential for the ten-lap race. In the hot conditions it should stay together pretty good towards the end.”

The conditions, hot and also humid, were hard on everyone at Jerez on day one, and set to be even more intense – especially after the GP riders who had been there for two consecutive race weekends spoke about it a lot. Tough conditions, but could be tougher said Rea.

“Of course it is going to be tough but if you got to the Suzuka 8-Hours you get to do it four times in one day, and that is for one hour with even hotter temperatures. It is going to be tough… there is no way to make it easy but you have to go out there and get it done. All the riders are fit, looking after themselves, so it should be OK, I hope.”

With 12 riders in less than one second in FP1, Rea is not convinced that there will be a repeat of the mass brawl - almost to the end - that characterised the PI races five month ago.

“No, no way,” he said. “Everybody in Phillip Island, the rhythm, if we went full gas you would see - for example - the Yamahas would not be there in the end because that already started to have tyre problems in the last laps. I feel like we could have made a gap because we made a really good job in PI. Here it is going to be much more.

"I feel like you can go here 20 laps and push, and do a rhythm. Then the field, everybody will find their place. With PI being so fast, it is easy to follow, and with the wind there it is easy to keep a group together, whereas here it is more easy to escape.”

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