Rea & Neukirchner talk Portimao Practice

Ten Kate Report

Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea and Max Neukirchner found it tough going in today’s opening qualifying session for round two of the 2010 World Superbike championship at Portimao in Portugal.

For Rea, in particular, the day brought its own ups and downs in the form of a fast crash at Portimao’s final turn during the morning’s opening free practice session. Rea, 23, was seventh fastest at the end of that session but slipped to tenth in this afternoon’s timed practice.

After disappointing results from the opening round in Australia a month ago, Max Neukirchner was happy to finish free practice with the third fastest time. However, changes to his rear shock did not result in fast enough times this afternoon, and the 26-year-old German slipped to a provisional 13th fastest.

Jonathan Rea – P10 1’44.042s

"We’ve been through the data in a lot of detail and I now know why the crash happened this morning. It was unusual, but I was probably riding within my own comfort zone this afternoon as a result. I need to get back on the top of that wave I was riding here in the test in January so I’ll come back tomorrow morning more aggressive and ready to go again. I’m only 0.5s off and I’m back in tenth and I know that our pace is OK on the race tyre. I just need to work on that one lap to get a good qualifying position."

Max Neukirchner – P13 1’44.272s

"We used a tyre for a long time this afternoon to try to understand the changes that we’ve made to the bike since the test here. Towards the end of the session, we changed the rear shock for one with a softer spring and some different internal settings but I wasn’t able to hold a line through the corners. We need to look at the data later on to find out exactly what was the problem, but generally, I’m feeling good on the bike and quite comfortable. I’m confident that better times will come tomorrow."

Ronald ten Kate – Team Manager

"While today’s provisional qualifying results don’t look so good on the timing screens or on paper, Jonathan is not so far off and we are confident that he will bounce back tomorrow with his characteristic aggression and self-confidence. With Max we are also definitely moving in the right direction so we’ll work hard tonight to make sure that both riders are in a position to close the relatively small gap to the front."

2010 World Superbike Championship – Round 2
Portimao, Portugal (4.592km) – first qualifying results:

1. Leon Haslam (GBR) Suzuki 1’43.476s
2. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati 1’43.508s
3. Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 1’43.645s
4. Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1’43.688s
10. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’44.042s
13. Max Neukirchner (GER) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’44.272s