Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two second-round World Superbike championship races at Portimao in Portugal from the second row of the grid after setting the fifth fastest time in today’s qualifying sessions.
As Britain’s Cal Crutchlow took pole position, Rea’s Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Max Neukirchner, qualified 13th fastest for the two 22-lap races around the undulating 4.592km Autodromo do Algarve tomorrow afternoon.
Rea has been making steady progress after his unsettling crash yesterday morning and improvements to his machine allowed the 23-year-old to set the fastest time in the second Superpole session. However, he was forced to use the second of his allocated qualifying tyres in that session, after failing to improve his time with the first.
Neukirchner, meanwhile, was pleased with some late improvements to his set-up, despite a spectacular crash that destroyed his Honda CBR1000RR and left the 26-year-old German with a deep wound in his right forearm.
Jonathan Rea – P5 1’42.428s (Superpole 2)
"I didn’t time that very well, did I? My first qualifier in Superpole 2 just didn’t work so I had to go out on the second and did my best time then, which would’ve put me second fastest. Grip levels have been down a bit since the test here and the track seems a little bumpier, especially in turns seven and fifteen, which is where I crashed yesterday. But I’ll say that I’m satisfied, because I’m still rebuilding myself after the crash, the bike is not so bad and we’re getting better at the one-lap wonders."
"The race is my thing though, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow because we have a package that’ll work for the duration. Our longer runs have shown that we should still have speed towards the end of the races. I’ll have to work hard in the first few laps tomorrow and get away with the leading group. I’ll then try to relax into a rhythm and, if we’re still there by lap 10, we’ll be in the hunt."
Max Neukirchner – P13 1’43.380s (Superpole 2)
"At the end we found a way forward and then I had some bad luck in Superpole. But the important thing is that we were able to improve the bike, even by a little bit. I had a qualifier in when I crashed and I was nearly upright, but maybe the shock unloaded a bit too fast. I know it was big and the bike is destroyed and I have a big hole in my arm."
"I’ve got some painkillers now, but I know it’ll be sore later and, I hope, not too bad in the morning. We’ll try then to improve the bike more with the direction we found at the rear today. Then I’ll do my best to get good starts in the races and get the best results that I can."
Ronald ten Kate – team-manager
"It’s been an up and down couple of days for both riders, but thankfully both are OK and ready to start tomorrow’s races. Jonathan’s confidence has returned after his crash yesterday and we made some progress with the bike to give him a good opportunity tomorrow. We still have some work to do with Max to find something that he’s comfortable with, and there’s lots of work to do tonight, but we’ll keep at it and look for more forward steps in the morning."
2010 World Superbike championship – round 2 – Portimao, Portugal (4.592km) – final qualifying results:
1. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 1’42.092s
2. Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1’42.513s
3. Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 1’42.586s
4. Leon Haslam (GBR) Suzuki 1’42.596s
5. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’42.428s
6. Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati 1’42.889s
13. Max Neukirchner (GER) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’43.380s