Rea: "It’s going to be a strange day tomorrow… no one’s done much productive testing in the dry"

Friday, 9 September 2022 14:44 GMT

The six-time Champion had a strong Friday as the only rider in the 1’49s bracket but remained aware of the challenges a wet Friday could produce throughout the weekend

A day of mixed conditions greeted the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field on Friday at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours with both Free Practice sessions for the Pirelli French Round disrupted by rain. In both 45-minute sessions, rain fell during the session before drying up towards the end of practice with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) able to post the best time of Free Practice 2.

The six-time World Champion completed just nine laps in FP2 but posted a best time of 1’49.379s to top the times by over a second with Independent rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in second place. Rea was the only rider to dip into the 1’49s bracket in FP2 on his way to top spot as the Ulsterman looks to continue closing the gap in the Championship to Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) at a circuit Rea has had so much success at.

Reacting to his Friday, Rea described it as a ‘solid’ day while also acknowledging improvements that have been made to help him and his ZX-10RR machine in wet-but-drying conditions. He said: “It was solid. I got caught out this morning after one lap. The rain came and I brought it in, so I didn’t register a lap time during the dry period. All my day’s testing was in the wet. I felt quite okay with the bike, more so in the afternoon. I felt better, this morning I was really struggling with the edge grip. We addressed that in the afternoon, and I felt much better. Also, an area we really struggled at in 2020 was when the track dried out. I really struggled to get off the first gear corners. Too much spin and not enough forward momentum. I think we addressed that today. The end was not a dry track, but we were still making improvements in lap times.”

The KRT squad went to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during the summer break for a two-day test with Rea discussing this at the end of Friday’s action. The Northern Irishman also explained how Saturday could be a ‘strange’ day due to the lack of dry running on Friday with the potential for better weather as the weekend progresses.

Rea added: “A really solid first day. Some items we tested in Barcelona we could see have some effect as well. We need to check again in the dry conditions tomorrow. It’s going to be a strange day tomorrow because no one’s really done much productive testing in the dry, so it could be a flip of a coin especially with the tyre allocation being so deep.”

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