Jonathan Rea has put himself on top of the timing sheets after setting the fastest time during a two-day World Superbike championship test at Imola in Italy. The series will return to race at the historic circuit near Bologna on 25-27 September for the first time in three years.
Riding at Imola for the first time, and in temperatures of more than 36 degrees, Rea’s best time of 1’48.670s was two tenths faster than second placed Michel Fabrizio, while his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Carlos Checa, finished the test in 11th place.
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.
Jonathan Rea approaches the ninth round of the 2009 World Superbike championship at Donington Park, UK, with extra confidence this weekend (26-28 June) after his stunning debut win in last Sunday’s second eighth round race at Misano in Italy.
Hailing from Larne, just north of Belfast in Northern Ireland, Donington Park represents Rea’s home race and, with only one British round in this, his debut World Superbike season, it will be, for many, the only chance to see the 22-year-old ace in action in the UK this year.
Jonathan Rea won the second of today’s two eighth round World Superbike championship races at Misano in Italy – his first win in his debut season.
It was a stunning bounce back after the 22-year-old was dogged by bad luck in the opening 24-lap encounter at the 4.2km Misano circuit. In wet conditions, Rea’s number one machine developed a fuel problem on the sighting lap and he was given a ride back to the pits by his Ten Kate team-mate, Ryuichi Kiyonari.
Jonathan Rea set the second fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole sessions to earn himself a place on the front row alongside pole setter Jakub Smrz for tomorrow’s two 24-lap eighth round World Superbike championship races at Misano in Italy.
Having topped the time sheets in the preceding free practice and the first two Superpole sessions, Rea missed on out his maiden pole position by just one tenth of a second after running new suspension on his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR for the first time this weekend.
Jonathan Rea set the fourth fastest time in today’s opening qualifying session for Sunday’s eighth round World Superbike championship encounter at Misano in Italy, earning himself a provisional front row start.
Along with Carlos Checa, his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, the 22-year-old Northern Irishman spent much of this morning’s free practice session evaluating Ohlins suspension alongside WP product, which has been run by the Ten Kate team in the past.
Ryuichi Kiyonari Speaks.. (4th and 5th)
I got a good start to the second part of race one and took the holeshot I think, but I had a problem with the tyre which was the same in race two. It was moving on the rim and made rear grip a real problem in both races. We decided to go with the softer tyre after warm-up but we hadn’t had a chance to do any longer runs with it. It was OK for the first couple of laps but then the problems started. It’s very disappointing but I guess the results are not so bad, and a lot better than last time at Kyalami.
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda Racing CBR1000RR) followed a third place qualification in Superpole with two third place finishes in the Word Superbike races at Monza, in a day full of drama and upset in the championship fight.
The first Superbike race was stopped after a first chicane incident which led to three separate but related crashes involving five riders, one of whom was 21st place qualifier Tommy Hill (Honda Althea CBR1000RR). The subsequent one-hour delay caused further changes of schedule through the day, although race two started on time.
Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox), Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike), Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Ruben Xaus (BMW Motorrad), together with Dutch World Supersport contenders Barry Veneman (Hoegee Suzuki) and Arie Vos (Veidec Racing RES Software Honda) were the riders chosen for the World Superbike (WSBK) pre-race motorcycle racing media event for the fourth round.
Noriyuki Haga Speaks…