Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea had a frustrating weekend at the Portuguese circuit of Portimao this weekend. Despite finishing on the podium in race two he was forced to retire from race one out of a top five
|Rea had a frustrating weekend in Portugal
Photo: Pata Honda
position due to technical issues.
The Northern Irishman showed promise in qualifying, securing a front row start for the second time this year. As the lights went out in race one Rea got a strong start and came out of turn one in third position, before slipping back to fourth to make up a leading group of five by lap seven. Misfortune struck on lap nine for the 26 year old when technical problems forced Rea to pull up and retire from the race.
Race two brought more luck for the Pata Honda rider however; sticking with race leader Eugene Laverty it looked as though Rea could be a serious threat for the race win, however a mistake by Rea on lap nine allowed Laverty to pull a gap and breakaway from the rest of the pack. Rea then lost out on second position when championship leader Sylvain Guintoli caught him on the 18th lap of 22.
After securing his seventh podium finish at Portimao Rea explained: It’s been a frustrating weekend, yet again, but we have a podium to take away from it and I’m quite happy to get back into the podium way. I set a really good pace in the first part of race two and the bike felt really good but, as soon as the grip dropped, the electronics were playing havoc. I can’t turn the traction control up because I slow down even more and, if I turn it off, the bike becomes unrideable. We’re just waiting for some more input, but it hasn’t come yet, which is frustrating. Race one was also disappointing because we’re just having too many mechanical problems this year. It was frustrating to go through that when I was fighting in the top five and two good circuits for us have now been and gone and we haven’t been able to capitalise. Imola is another strong circuit for us, so hopefully we can be back up here again. I want to thank Chris [Pike – crew chief] and everyone who keeps digging deep and working hard, and all the fans for their support, which means a lot at the moment when we’re finding it tough.
Rea’s injured team-mate Leon Haslam had a weekend to forget in Portugal, with the Derbyshire rider retired from race one and withdrew from race two.
After breaking his leg just 6 weeks ago in a practice session at Assen, Haslam pushed himself to be fit for his home round of Donington two weekends ago, however he didn’t participate in the races. Given more time to recover, Haslam expected to be fighting fit at Portimao but his knee was causing the 30 year old problems. Qualifying in 14th position, Haslam worked his way valiantly up into 10th in race one. By lap nine of 22 Haslam pulled into the pits, unable to ride his Honda CBR how he wanted. He then chose to withdraw from race two and focus on coming back to Imola fitter and stronger.
Haslam revealed: A tough weekend, really, when I’ve been struggling with power in the leg. The knee bend was pretty good, but I just struggled in race one with fatigue in the rest of my body. I couldn’t use my leg properly, so the manhandling of the bike that’s needed round here was done pretty much using my upper body. You don’t realise how much you use your legs on the bike until you can’t use one of them! It’s a little frustrating, but I got eight or nine laps in before I was completely done, and I managed to pass a few people, like Leon Camier, who finished fourth. We’ve made progress from Donington and we have another three weeks until Imola. We’ve also been keeping up to speed on the electronics, which will be useful in the races to come. We haven’t made many chassis changes because a lot of the problems are from me not being able to push through the pegs. I just need to get a bit more strength back in the leg.