Rea Ready for “Exciting” Opening Weekend

Jonathan Rea is expecting a fast and furious Superpole session tomorrow after finishing second fastest in Friday practice at Phillip Island. The reigning champion was inside the existing lap record with a 1:30.255 although he was ultimately outpaced by Ducati’s Chaz Davies who pipped him by a tenth.

With the pace so impressive today, Rea is expecting records to fall in tomorrow’s battle for pole position, although the race is likely to be a different story.

“It will be exciting times on the weekend and one lap pace I think will be completely different to 22 lap pace. It is important to manage the race in the right way. We did 1’30.2 on a race tyre today so I dread to think what Superpole is going to be with qualifiers! You are going to have to get into the thick of the 1’29s to get on pole. I am going to give it a good go anyway tomorrow because I feel good on the bike. We still have a few little bits for me to try to maximise acceleration when the tyre drops. We have had a Monday and Tuesday test here so we should be pretty much ready to go. We will go out and check the bike over to get ready for Superpole. With the slightly longer 25-minute FP3 on Saturday this year you can make a long run, and that is important.”

Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes was fourth quickest and although the Yorkshireman is known for his Superpole dominance, he is currently more confident about his race pace.

“I think we are OK on race distance but we are just struggling for an initial lap time. We will see how it goes tomorrow as we still have a bit of work to do. But on lap 18 of a race simulation I was only three tenths slower than my best lap. We just need to find a bit of a set-up change to manage a bit better in the windy conditions. We have gathered some information and tomorrow we will try to be a bit sharper again. It was tough with the headwind so it definitely affected everyone in the afternoon session. Hopefully I can make an improvement tomorrow so it will not affect me quite as much.”