Jonathan Rea admits PATA Honda leave Phillip Island with “work to do” after a low-key start to the new World Superbike season. The Ulsterman couldn’t make it higher than eighth in either race and sees the electronics as a key area they need to improve in to challenge the championship leading Aprilias.
“It’s been a strange weekend, and it’s frustrating for us all to look at the classifications and see where we are because I don’t feel that it’s a true reflection of where we deserve to be. On the other side of that, it’s clear how much effort we’re going to have to put in to make the electronics better. It’s our main problem right now because back at the team’s workshop we found a little bit of power for the engine for this event and I know there’s another plan to develop that. It’s clear we need to make a couple of steps forward and bypass where we were the electronics last year. I feel there’s a light at the end of the tunnel though because I’ve already got some positive feelings with the new system. There are just a few inconsistencies when getting on the throttle with the traction control cutting in and holding back the engine. We made some positive steps with the bike between race one and two, and we’ve got a three-day test at Aragon, which we really need. Two finishes is always the aim for the first race, but we leave here still with work to do.”
Teammate Leon Haslam ran with the leading group in race one before fading to seventh late on while the second race was destroyed immediately when he was caught up in the first lap accident involving Chaz Davies and Loris Baz. Haslam fought back to tenth but that wasn’t enough to satisfy him at the end of his debut weekend with PATA Honda.
“It’s been a bit of a disappointing day. We had some issues that we couldn’t overcome in race one and I ended up heading backwards. It felt like I had the pace to challenge for a rostrum but I was held back in a couple of areas. In race two we made some positive changes but I had a bad start and then got caught in the melée with two other riders crashing out down at the MG hairpin on lap one. I lost around 10 or 11 seconds that would have allowed me to battle for third or fourth again if I hadn’t lost that time. There are a lot of ‘if’s and ‘but’s, and we’ve got a lot of work to do in this next month to try to resolve a few issues.”