WSBK: Jonathan Rea frustrated by engine braking issue at Imola

Jonathan Rea leads his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes at Imola.

Jonathan Rea leads his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes at Imola.

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World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea is seeking a solution to the recurring engine braking issue he is encountering ahead of Sunday’s second race at Imola in Italy.

The Ulster rider finished as the runner-up in the opening race on Saturday behind Aruba.it Ducati’s Chaz Davies and lost ground after the problem caused him to run wide when he was tailing the Welsh rider, which dropped him back into the clutches of team-mate Tom Sykes.

Rea, though, had enough in hand to keep the Yorkshireman at bay to seal second place, but the on-going problem with the ZX-10R has left the championship leader frustrated.

“In the beginning I felt good with Chaz and I managed to close the gap down to him. We have had some issues on the engine brake side and this caused me to run on,” Rea said.

“It was happening into the fast turn five and it took my confidence a little bit. When I made the mistake the gap changed. I am happy with my race because second is good as Chaz was on a different planet this morning.

“I was just happy to be there in the race at the beginning. I was the best of the rest today and now I’m happy to look forward to tomorrow, as I am sure we can improve the bike set-up,” he added.

“I hear some mixed weather forecasts, and that we could have some rain, so I hope we can be prepared for whatever we get.”

Rea holds a lead of 40 points over Davies at the top of the championship standings ahead of Sunday’s second race at Imola, which is hosting the fifth round of the series.

Behind the top three, Jordi Torres took fourth on the Althea BMW with Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Ducati) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta) the top six.