World Superbikes: Jonathan Rea knocked off top spot but upbeat after two-day Aragon test

Jonathan Rea ended the two-day World Superbike test at Motorland Aragon feeling upbeat ahead of the next two rounds at the Spanish track.
Jonathan Rea leads the World Superbike Championship by four points as he bids for a sixth successive world crown.Jonathan Rea leads the World Superbike Championship by four points as he bids for a sixth successive world crown.
Jonathan Rea leads the World Superbike Championship by four points as he bids for a sixth successive world crown.

The Kawasaki rider topped the times on Thursday but dropped to third on the time sheets on day two behind team-mate Alex Lowes and Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark.

Rea, almost four-tenths down on Lowes, focused mainly on the set-up of his ZX-10RR to be ready for the first of two consecutive rounds at Aragon, starting from August 28-31.

“I felt good out there,” Rea said.

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“The track was a little bit strange in the morning and the kerbs were quite slippery, but step by step I understood what the track requested and the bike was ‘talking’ to me quite well.

“The main focus of this test is that we had some chassis items to test, and also to reconfirm the front tyre [option], going back from SC1 and SC2 to understand the performance, the drop, and the different character, and I felt like we got some really good information.

“There are some areas where we need to improve and I’m really struggling to get off the last corner, but we worked hard to try and understand that and make a step.

“To be honest we didn’t have too many new test items and it’s more of a wake-up test to understand Aragon,” added the 33-year-old.

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“We test here in the winter time in November when it’s really cool, so we’re going to be racing here in a couple of weeks’ time with this [hot] kind of temperature.

“We had really good, consistent temperatures out there so that let us have a consistent effort and understand the performance of the tyres when they’re new and when they have race distance done as well, so it was quite productive.”

On his prospects at Aragon, where Ducati has been the dominant force in recent seasons, Rea said he was feeling optimistic.

“You’re never ready but I feel good with the bike now and I feel we made a really good step during this summer pre-season, before we started the first Jerez race, in the hot conditions; I feel that will be beneficial to us here in these hot races.”

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The Ulster rider leads the championship by four points from Scott Redding ( Ducati), who was fifth fastest on Friday behind Leon Haslam (Team HRC) as the test came to a conclusion.

World Superbike newcomer Redding won twice at Jerez in Spain to move into a 24-point lead at the top, but Rea’s dominant treble last weekend at Portimao in Portugal turned the tide in his favour.

Already the most successful rider ever in World Superbikes, Rea is bidding to win the title for a record sixth successive year with Kawasaki.

Welshman Chaz Davies, a multiple winner at Aragon, was sixth quickest on Friday on the second of the Ducati Panigale V4 machines.

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