WSBK: Jonathan Rea upbeat ahead of opening race at Misano

Jonathan Rea in action at Misano on Friday.
Jonathan Rea in action at Misano on Friday.

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea was satisfied with his progress at Misano heading into the opening race on Saturday in San Marino.

The Kawasaki rider was eighth fastest overall on Friday and lapped in 1m 35.532s, finishing 0.269s behind pacesetter Nicky Hayden as half-a-second covered the top ten on day one at the Marco Simoncelli Circuit.

Rea, who worked through several tyre options and completed a long run to evaluate tyres and his race pace, said: “We are not far away and we made a good step in between FP1 and FP2, just to make it a little bit more easy.

“I suffered with a bit too much pitching at the beginning but in the afternoon it was OK.

“We managed to do a long run, a race simulation, and we have good information from that now. The track is behaving a lot differently to last year, when the asphalt was new. It seems the track is using the tyre more than it did last year,” he added.

“Some split times are very constant whether we use a new or old tyre, and some are going away. It also got quite windy out there in the middle of the session, especially going through the really fast corner.

“We were lucky today because the weather was super hot and we managed to evaluate a new rear tyre that Pirelli brought, which seems to be working well. I am quite satisfied with the opening day.”

Rea is aiming to return to winning ways at Misano after a run of six races without a victory, although he still holds a healthy lead of 56 points at the top of the championship and has yet to finish outside the podium places this season.

He won his maiden World Superbike race at Misano in 2009 and will be gunning for the top step as he bids to bolster his title charge further.