Jonathan Rea has put himself on top of the timing sheets after setting the fastest time during a two-day World Superbike championship test at Imola in Italy. The series will return to race at the historic circuit near Bologna on 25-27 September for the first time in three years.
Riding at Imola for the first time, and in temperatures of more than 36 degrees, Rea’s best time of 1’48.670s was two tenths faster than second placed Michel Fabrizio, while his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Carlos Checa, finished the test in 11th place.
As well as evaluating tyres for Pirelli, the test represented the team’s first real opportunity to undertake an extended test with new technical partners, Andreani Group, since changing to Ohlins suspension prior to the Misano, Italy round in June.
Jonathan Rea Speaks… (Best Lap 1’48.670s)
"It’s been a good couple of days here at Imola, which we started with a really different approach. Instead of trying to change things from the start, we just waited until I was really up to speed. That took most of the first day, when we really only changed one thing. We started trying some new stuff this morning and I was able to run consistently in the top three and we were able to confirm the good base setting that we found at Misano. After that, we just fine tuned things, but it was really motivational to be at a new track with everything fresh. I was even quick through the sector with the chicane in it, and slower corners and chicanes are normally my weaker points. All in all, it’s been good and I want to thank the team for all their work in changing the approach to work here. We got another boost when Kenan set the fastest Supersport time, so I think we can go to Brno next week with some confidence."
Carlos Checa Speaks… (Best Lap 1’49.736s)
"I think we did a good job here at Imola. It’s been ten years since I last rode here, but I like the circuit and even the new chicane is quite good. We have found something for a base setting here, although we still have some more work to make the rear a little more stable. It’s been good to spend some time working with our new suspension technicians outside a race weekend, and I think we are in good shape to move forward at Brno next week."
Ronald ten Kate Speaks… (Team Manager)
"Actually, we are quite happy with Carlos’s overall pace, which is pretty good, even though he looks a little further back than he actually is. We have some very useful data now, as we have concentrated on looking for something like a base setting and finding out which areas to concentrate on with the new suspension. We have even tried new things when the bike was really going well, just to see what reaction it gave – it’s paid off very well. We’ve done longer runs on various tyres, but everything has really been geared around the new suspension, and two of our technicians spent a couple of days at the Andreani factory near Misano earlier this week to really understand better how everything will work with our bike."
Imola test – overall times
1 J Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’48.670
2 M Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati 1’48.847
3 B Spies (USA) Yamaha 1’49.262
4 L Lanzi (ITA) Ducati 1’49.309
5 T Sykes (GBR) Yamaha 1’49.422
6 J Hopkins (USA) Honda 1’49.443
7 R Xaus (ESP) BMW 1’49.467
8 L Haslam (GBR) Honda 1’49.555
9 S Byrne (GBR) Ducati 1’49.577
10 S Nakano (JPN) Aprilia 1’49.645
11 C Checa (ESP) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’49.736