Jonathan Rea was delighted to give his Honda team something to celebrate at their home event by winning the second race at Assen on Sunday. The Briton took his victory tally at the Dutch circuit to four in six races although it could've been more after he crashed out of a strong position in race one.
After the team's tough start to 2012, Rea feels they are moving in the right direction and that the victory was a timely boost.
“I felt pretty confident with our strategy in race one and I was feeling quite comfortable when the rain arrived and stopped the race. The rain caught out a few people in the second part, including me, and I was just pushing a little too hard when the rear broke away. I'm so happy for the race two result though, especially for all the guys back at the workshop. We know that the package isn't where it should be but they continue to push 100%. I'm so grateful for that, because nobody's given up and we just try to make the bike better every race. I felt I had a little more oomph this weekend – I've struggled to get a really happy feeling with the front forks but we're getting them to work now.”
“The new one-bike rule also makes it difficult to develop the package, so to get a day here last week with two bikes was really useful. It gives me more confidence and we're now operating in a new area with the bike. I've moved the bars and myself further back to get a bit more edge grip and I think the testament to all that is that we worked all weekend on a strategy with the harder rear. Nobody considered this for the race but, if race one had stayed dry today, I was sitting comfortably, in a good position, ready to pounce at the end. It's really nice to give a little something back to the team, but we've still got work to do.”
On the other hand, teammate Hiroshi Aoyama continues to struggle. The Japanese rider couldn't break into the top ten at any stage during the weekend but he is hoping that Rea's success will soon lead to an upturn in fortunes on his side of the garage.
“It's been quite a difficult weekend for us and we were struggling to get rear grip. We worked on it a lot but every time we found something better the conditions changed so we could not really improve the base feeling on the bike. Race one was my first on Pirelli rain tyres so I went a little bit carefully and saw many riders start to crash. At the end I finished 12th which was not too bad, starting from 21st on the grid. In the second race we also started in damp conditions, so tyre choice was critical. Carlos Checa gambled a bit with rain tyres and we also gambled a bit, choosing a cut slick, but in the end there was no more rain so it was really conditions for slicks and we couldn't find good pace. I'm a little bit sad for myself but, for the team, Johnny did a really good job, so I want to congratulate him. Next time, I'd like to fight for the podium and celebrate with him!”