What halted Rea’s victory charge on his Donington Park homecoming?

Sunday, 17 July 2022 14:09 GMT

Rea was able to stay with Razgatlioglu throughout the first three-quarters of Race 2 but dropped down to third in the closing stages

For the first period of Race 2 at the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s visit to Donington Park, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was able to follow and challenge Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) for the lead during the Prosecco DOC UK Round. At the start of Lap 14, Razgatlioglu was able to start pulling away from Rea as he went on to take his first WorldSBK hat-trick.

Rea was then in second place but soon found himself under pressure from Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati), with the Championship leader passing his title rival on Lap 19 of 23 to demote Rea down to third place. Temperatures across the weekend have been getting warmer, with 22 degrees air temperature recorded during FP2 as the highest on Friday, 24 degrees peak on Saturday and 29 degrees on Sunday.

The six-time Champion was able to leave his home round with three podiums and he cut Bautista’s lead in the Championship down from 36 points to just nine, with the Spanish rider crashing out of Race 1 at Turn 12 and not scoring any points. It also means Rea, Bautista and Razgatlioglu have all scored 13 podiums this season out of the 15 races run in 2022.

Explaining what he feels cost him a shot at victory in Race 2, Rea said: “I feel that, just in the braking area, we had a big problem with brakes in the latter part of the race. I couldn’t make any pressure on the lever, the lever was coming right back to me to the bar and even then I wasn’t stopping as well as at the beginning. I think a combination of that and he’s very strong here, his bike’s very strong here and also Ducati. No excuses from us, we should be competitive here, but I think this is our reality. We got our maximum from the weekend. It’s disappointing not to win a home race and expectation was to be there and fighting like we were in Race 2. I feel that we left a little bit on the table. We could’ve potentially attacked the races a little bit differently but I think the results are reality. We need to improve.”

Discussing Kawasaki’s performance in hotter conditions after Race 1 on Saturday, Rea’s Crew Chief, Pere Riba, said: “We are trying to improve some weak points. We’ve been testing at Aragon in the hot conditions as that’s one of our weak points. It’s strange to say but we’re still learning. Today, we made a setup on the bike where we knew this could happen because we need the best data. The best data is always in the race because in FP1, the track is still not in shape and the temperature is not the same. However, then in the afternoon, we can focus a little bit but on Friday, the track temperature was 35 degrees and now it’s 48 degrees. This means that every time, it’s a new understanding and before the race, we spoke with Jonny. We said we needed the understanding and the data of this setup and the hot conditions because it gives a lot of information for tomorrow and future races. We’re still learning, we collect the information and we see tomorrow what we can do.”

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