Jonathan Rea solid fight at SBK Phillip Island

Ten Kate Honda SBK Race Report

Jonathan Rea took fourth and sixth place finishes in today’s two World Superbike championship races at Phillip Island in Australia, as Leon Haslam and Carlos Checa took the wins.

After struggling to find the right set-up for the fast 4.445km circuit, Rea started both 22-lappers from the second row, moving up to fourth place in race one. The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland fought off the advances of Max Biaggi to cross the line in fourth.

Rea began race two in similar vein after his crew made some changes to the front of his CBR1000RR Fireblade. However, a mistake at turn four on the opening lap left him on the grass and Rea rejoined in last place before fighting his way back through the field.

His Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Max Neukirchner, was relatively satisfied with 12th place in race one, having experienced problems during qualifying which resulted in 17th place on the starting grid.

The German also ran on at turn four in the second outing but was unable to make up enough places to get back into the points, eventually finishing in 16th place.

Jonathan Rea Speaks… SBK Phillip Island 4th and 6th

We’ve had problems all week, really, from the test last weekend, right through this one. We knew it would be hard, so, if fourth and sixth is a bad weekend, I’ll take it. I was pretty happy with fourth, because I had to fight for it all the way. We changed the front a bit for the second race and I think it caught me out as I braked for the hairpin on the first lap."

"I had to let off the brake and by the time I got back on track I was last. It gave me a pretty strong motivation actually, and I really enjoyed riding through the field and passing I think maybe 16 other riders, which was a lot of fun. Now we’re looking forward to getting back to some tracks where we know the bike works and to fighting for some podiums again."

Max Neukirchner Speaks… SBK Phillip Island 12th and 16th

"Well, it hasn’t been a fantastic weekend and we struggled to find the right direction from the very start. We made some more progress during warm-up this morning and in race one I was able to make up some places from my grid position. We made a big change to the rear of the bike for race two and it felt pretty good for the early part of the race."

"I was following Biaggi quite closely in his slipstream and ended up braking a bit late for turn four and losing maybe 20 seconds. I had a bit of a lonely ride after that and it was a disappointing finish to the weekend. We came here to do a better job than this and we’ve got some more work to do to get back on course at the next round."

Ronald ten Kate Speaks… SBK Phillip Island

"I think Jonathan probably got the maximum out of the weekend that was possible. He rode very well in race one but the bike was a little bit off and his crew did a great job for race two when it was very competitive. A little mistake at Honda corner gave Jonathan some work to do but to come back from last to sixth was a marvellous job. However, only wins and podiums count so we’ll be chasing them once again when we return to Europe. Max has had a tough first weekend and its probably one to forget. The only positive is that the changes made for race two got him up to speed but, once he had run off the track, it was a difficult race."

2010 World Superbike Championship | WSBK Round 1

Phillip Island, Australia (4.445km) Race 1 Results (22 laps)

1 Leon Haslam (GBR) Suzuki 34’13.435s
2 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati +0.004s
3 Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Ducati +0.769s
4 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +10.201s
5 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia +10.782s
6 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Suzuki +11.079s
12 Max Neukirchner (GER) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +30.155s
Race 2 results: (22 laps):
1 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 34’16.428s
2 Leon Haslam (GBR) Suzuki +0.307s
3 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati +0.434s
4 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Suzuki +0.837s
5 Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Ducati +3.453s
6 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +11.530s
16 Max Neukirchner (GER) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +48.844s

Championship points after first round:
Haslam 45, Fabrizio 36, Checa 34, Haga 27, Guintoli 23, Rea 23 (Neukirchner 4).

Next round: Portimao, Portugal – 26-28 March