Just a week after his debut World Superbike championship victory at Misano in Italy, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea finished seventh and 15th in today’s two ninth-round races at Donington Park in the UK.
Both races were won by American Ben Spies as Rea and his team-mate Carlos Checa continued their familiarisation with new suspension components for their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades.
Checa finished 11th in race one but crashed out of fifth place on lap six of the second 23-lap encounter around the 4.023km Donington Park circuit. Rea had slid off at the first gear Goddards left-hander three laps earlier, after charging into sixth place from 12th on the grid. The gutsy 22-year-old from Northern Ireland remounted in 28th and last place and fought his way back to 15th at the flag.
Jonathan Rea Speaks… (7th and 15th)
I knew we were going to struggle here, but I didn’t think it would be this hard. Donington is a very difficult place to find the right set up because you have the fast-flowing first section and then a series of first-gear corners at the end of the lap. We changed quite a bit after the first race – the rear linkage and some other things. The bike was very different to ride but I was still struggling in the last sector where I’ve been having problems all weekend. And that’s where I crashed – off the brake, off the throttle, and just lost the front. I picked it up and collected a point, which could be important at the end of the season. We’ll aim to find a good base setting for this new suspension when we test at Imola in a couple of weeks, and take the rest of the season from there.
Carlos Checa Speaks… (11th and DNF)
It’s a real shame because the bike was definitely easier to ride faster in race two. I was trying to keep the pressure on but just lost the front at Redgate and that was the end of the race. I’ve hurt my ribs a bit but it’s not too bad. The first race was very difficult also, even though the start was not too bad. We need to spend some time working on the new components, so it is good that we have the test in two weeks.
Ronald ten Kate Speaks… (Team Manager)
In race one we just didn’t have the pace to match the front runners, which was a bit of a surprise because yesterday, during some longer runs, we were quite a bit faster. We changed the set-up quite a bit for race two in which Jonathan showed – both before and after his crash – that he definitely had the pace to match the front runners. Now we go to Imola for a test, which will be good for us to spend some time working with the new suspension for the rest of the season.
2009 World Superbike championship, round nine – Donington Park, UK (4.023km, 2 x 23 laps) results:
Race 1 Results
1 Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 34’57.230s
3 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia +7.156s
3 Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Ducati +10.968s
4 Leon Haslam (GBR) Honda +18.843s
7 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +23.644s
10 Ryuichi Kiyonari (JPN) Ten Kate Honda Racing +33.192s
11 Carlos Checa (ESP) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +34.535s
Race 2 Results
1 Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 35’14.788s
2 Leon Haslam (GBR) Honda +6.622s
3 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati +6.816s
4 Shane Byrne (GBR) Ducati +7.349s
7 Ryuichi Kiyonari (JPN) Ten Kate Honda Racing +15.751s
15 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +32.806s
Championship Points (9 of 14 Rounds)
Haga 308, Spies 294, Fabrizio 257, Rea 177, Haslam 167, Biaggi 155, Tom Sykes (GBR) Yamaha 141, Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati 115, Checa 114, Byrne 113, Kiyonari 113.
Next round: Brno, Czech Republic – 26 July