Pata Honda rider, Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s races in the 6th round of the World Superbike Championship at Portimão from 3rd on the grid.
|Another front row start for Rea
Photo: Pata Honda
The Northern Irishman has showed good pace throughout the weekend and despite having setup issues on Friday, the Isle of Man based rider went on to top both qualifying practice sessions in the dying moments, prior to Superpole this afternoon. He, along with compatriot Eugene Laverty were the first riders to enter the 1m 42s bracket in the Superpole 1, but were joined soon after by Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, who relegated the pair into 2nd and 3rd respectively by the time SP1 had ended.
With rain putting a halt to proceedings in the opening minutes of SP2, the second and third Superpole sessions were combined to form a twenty minute dash for pole. In near identical fashion to SP1, Rea managed a 1m 41s lap on his first flying lap but was ousted to third by Sykes and Laverty, who both put in record breaking lap times in a bid for pole position. Having already used the qualifying tyre before the stoppage in SP2, Rea was unable to respond: “Superpole was a bit strange, to be honest, because the weather was coming in, so in Superpole 2 we went out straight away with the Q. I went pretty quick in dodgy conditions and I was taking a bit of a risk, but they red flagged the session just as I finished my lap. So I was really frustrated because I thought that was us locked in and we’d got our place on the grid. But then they went to the wet Superpole format which was 20 minutes, and we used the Q too early. I did my best again on the other Q and went pretty quick – a 41.7, and the clouds were coming in again – but then it brightened up so the other guys tended to get the best of the track. I was happy enough to be on the front row, really, because we made a real backwards step in FP2, but we rectified it for Superpole. I’m looking forward to the races tomorrow and I think we can make another step in warm-up with the chassis. The bumps around here are just a little bit off-putting, especially through the fast bomb-hole section, so we’ll just tidy the bike up a little bit. I’ve got to find some speed in sector one as well but, other than that, we’re good to race.”