Hannspree Ten Kate Honda riders, Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa, are looking forward to battling for further honours this weekend (19-21 June) at the San Marino round of the 2009 World Superbike championship at Misano in Italy.
Last time out at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, USA, both riders earned podium finishes – Checa taking second place in race one to follow his double win at the Utah circuit in 2008, and Rea scoring third in the second outing.
For Checa, it was the first podium finish of the season and the Spaniard is hungry to taste the champagne again at Misano and to continue his climb up the top ten on the WSBK leaderboard.
Rea, meanwhile, after a sluggish start to his debut Superbike season, has been in a rich vein of form since race two at Assen at the end of April, scoring consistently high finishes and racking up more than 90 points that have propelled him to fourth place in the current rankings.
Jonathan Rea Speaks…
4th in Championship
"After America, I had really good week at the TT, helping my friend Keith Amor, who got two podium finishes but was hit by mechanical failures in other races. It’ll be really cool to go to Misano – it’s a nice place to be and a good track that I enjoy riding and I was on the podium there in Supersport last year. I really need to work on improving my qualifying because in the last few races, we seem to have had the pace all weekend but then, for one reason or another, ended up off the front row after Superpole. I’ve not started from the front since Australia but, if you’re not there, it makes the first lap really difficult. The bike development has been going in the right direction for me recently and that really motivates me and the rest of the crew to do the best job we can possibly do. We’ve just passed the halfway stage of the season and it’s important to deliver consistently good results now and, at some point, take it up to the next level. There’s still a gap to the guys ahead of us, but it’s a gap that we’ve managed to reduce slightly and that’s what we’ll keep working on."
Carlos Checa Speaks…
9th in Championship
"I had a very nice experience at the Isle of Man TT, which I visited for the very first time. Although it was a bit boring waiting for the delayed Superbike race, I am glad I stayed to see it – it’s a little bit crazy! It’s also amazing to see the whole Island working for this event. There is some incredible Honda racing history there, because that’s where it all started 50 years ago. It’ll be good to get to Misano though – I like the circuit a lot, although we suffered from quite a bit of chatter there last year. It would be good to get back on the podium again, after the first race at Miller two weeks ago. The second race there was not so good but the feature of the circuit where I crashed is not something you find anywhere else. The important thing from the last race is that we had enough pace to fight for podium finishes. The bike felt really good and we want to carry that to Italy and through the second half of the season."
Ronald ten Kate Speaks…
"The last three or four rounds have shown a definite step forward, but we need to make another step now in order to start challenging for race wins. With the current development plan, and a test we held at Magny-Cours this week, we definitely hope to make that step forward and our next strides will be in Misano this weekend."
WSBK Misano Schedule
Friday, 19 June
12.45-13.45 – free practice
16.15-17.15 – qualifying 1
Saturday, 20 June
10.45-11.30 – qualifying 2
14.00-14.45 – free practice
15.00-15.12 – Superpole 1
15.19-15.31 – Superpole 2
15.38-15.50 – Superpole 3
Sunday, 21 June
09.20-09.40 – Warm-up
12.00 Race 1 (24 laps, 101.424km)
15.30 Race 2 (24 laps, 101.424km)