Jonathan Rea approaches the ninth round of the 2009 World Superbike championship at Donington Park, UK, with extra confidence this weekend (26-28 June) after his stunning debut win in last Sunday’s second eighth round race at Misano in Italy.
Hailing from Larne, just north of Belfast in Northern Ireland, Donington Park represents Rea’s home race and, with only one British round in this, his debut World Superbike season, it will be, for many, the only chance to see the 22-year-old ace in action in the UK this year.
In recent weeks, Rea has been working hard with his Hannspree Ten Kate crew to continue development of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade – a programme that included a switch to Öhlins suspension last weekend.
His team-mate, Carlos Checa also posted positive results at Misano last Sunday and, although admitting that Donington Park is not his favourite track, the Spaniard is confident of transferring the improvements in his racing package into results at the 4.023km Leicestershire circuit.
Jonathan Rea Speaks…
"I think the changes we’ve made since Valencia and the development with the CBR1000RR that we’ve followed for the last few races were demonstrated quite well in Misano. Of course, it felt amazing to get that first win under my belt and I think it all bodes well for the remainder of the season. To be honest, I’ve never set the world on fire at Donington, but it was that same at Misano before I went there last week so I hope it’ll be good. We need to keep making progress to have a good Friday and Saturday to set us up for the race on Sunday. I hope it’s good racing, too, because the British fans will only get one World Superbike meeting this year. We’ll just try to make more progress with the new suspension. The wet setting in race one at Misano wasn’t spot on, so we’ll need to find something there if the forecast is anything to go by."
Carlos Checa Speaks…
"Donington is not my favourite circuit, I must admit, but we will try our very best to make it enjoyable! We made some good improvements at the weekend in Misano and Johnny showed with his win in the second race that the package is getting very strong now. Every part of the circuit at Donington is very important – not just the fast part, or the slower part – the whole lap, including the up and down parts, needs to be just perfect. So we will work very hard on the set-up of the CBR to get some more good results for the team. The weather is very important I believe so I hope it stays dry."
Ronald ten Kate Speaks.. (Team Manager)
"Yes, our development of the current Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade continues. It was very much a case of work-in-progress at Misano but I think we all could see that we made a big step forward. Going into his home race at Donington with his first win already under his belt will hopefully motivate Johnny and not put too much pressure on him. But Donington has been kind to us in the past and Carlos’s bike also showed a big improvement last weekend so we hope to get him on the podium again in the UK. We’re still on a high after last weekend’s performance but we’re also realistic and know that we must work harder than ever to maintain this momentum that we have."
Donington Park (4.023km), WSBK schedule:
Friday, 26 June
1245-1345 – free practice
1615-1715 – qualifying practice
Saturday, 27 June
1045-1130 – qualifying practice
1400-1445 – free practice
1500-1512 – Superpole 1
1519-1531 – Superpole 2
1536-1550 – Superpole 3
Sunday, 28 June
0920-0940 – warm-up
1200 – race 1 (23 laps, 92.529km)
1530 – race 2 (23 laps, 92.529km)