Jonathan Rea was beaming after riding a factory MotoGP bike for the first time at Brno on Monday. The Ulsterman, who represents Honda in the Superbike World Championship, flew over from Moscow to test Casey Stoner’s RC213V with a view to racing it should Stoner not recover from injury in time for Misano.
Rea ended the day with a best time of 1:59.595 which put him eighth fastest, three seconds down on pacesetter Cal Crutchlow and ahead of the CRT bikes. He will join the team for next week’s test at Aragon and will be on stand-by to race in the San Marino Grand Prix for what would be his Grand Prix debut.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for me and I’m thankful to Honda for asking me to be here, although I’m gutted for the guys in the team and obviously for Casey as he is the guy that should be here and I wish him a fast recovery.”
“My first impressions are that the bike isn’t that difficult, it’s the tyres and the way they work that I’m finding hard. I’m struggling to finish off the corner which is definitely a confidence issue as I just need to load the front and find that confidence but it’s my first day and I don’t want to find that limit, or risk overstepping it just yet. It’s great to be able to see Dani’s data and learn where to go fast, that’s a big help. I don’t underestimate how tough a job it is, I just need some time and I don’t feel pressure to perform, it’s a learning process with the team and people around me. It’s been a great day, one of the best days of my life. I’ve been a Honda rider all my career and now to ride the best Honda machine in the World has been a dream come true”.
24 hours after his sensational victory, Dani Pedrosa returned to action on the sister RC213V to try and eradicate the chatter which continues to affect the bike. The Spaniard says the team have some ideas which may improve the feeling of the bike and will hope to improve again at Aragon next week.
“Today, we’ve done a general test looking to improve the feelings we had in yesterday’s race. We tried some ideas to reduce the chatter, but this is something very difficult to fix, so we’ve been basically working on the electronics and the suspension trying to find more edge grip and in the exit of the corner. I tried a new Öhlins shock which gave me some positive feelings and now we have some new ideas to try in Aragón next week. The track was a little bit slower than yesterday and in the afternoon it was quite windy, but this test was important as it’s a good track to test at and I had all the references still fresh from yesterday’s race”.