Jonathan Rea emerged with the fastest overall time after the World Superbike three-day pre-season test concluded at Portimao in Portugal this afternoon.
After a total of 143 laps of the 4.592km circuit, the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider’s time of 1’42.470 – set two minutes before the end of the final session – beat the circuit best lap of 2009 World Superbike champion, Ben Spies, by two tenths of a second.
The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland was also fastest in this morning’s penultimate session, when he beat fellow Brit Leon Haslam by just 0.001s. Haslam was second fastest overall, with another Briton, Shane Byrne third.
Rea’s Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team mate, Max Neukirchner, was ninth fastest overall after finding an improved set-up on his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade just eight laps before the test concluded this afternoon.
Jonathan Rea Speaks…
“These three days have just been part of our preparation for the new season – preparation that started almost as soon as last season finished. We were fast at Valencia in December but didn’t get the chance to put all our best settings together. We were able to do that here, and throw in a number of different tyres this afternoon. It was good to see P1 on the pit board for a lot of laps here and we know we have a good package to take to Australia now. We’ve got something that won’t be so hard on the tyres, which was a problem there last year. I’m feeling in great condition and feel that my focus and concentration have improved on last season. The bike itself is now just clicks away, rather than having to change lots of different things. We’re actually not that far away from when we first changed to Ohlins last June and now it’s all about fine-tuning.”
Ronald ten Kate Speaks… Team Manager
“Well, the weather didn’t really help us stick to our testing plan, the main thrust of which was to narrow down our options before the start of the season so that both riders might have something they could call a base setting. However, I believe we’ve achieved a lot here and we are better prepared than we’ve ever been at the start of a season. Max is on schedule and, although he has some ground to make up, he is improving step-by-step. Jonathan has been quick in all conditions and the smile on his face and his apparent sheer joy of riding the bike, tells us more than megabytes of data from his bike!”
2010 World Superbike test, Portimao – Official Combined Times
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’42.270s
2. Leon Haslam (GBR) Suzuki 1’42.557s
3. Shane Byrne (GBR) Ducati 1’42.877s
4. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 1’42.960s
5. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati 1’43.137s
6. James Toseland (GBR) Yamaha 1’43.157s