Recently-crowned European Superstock 600 Champion Gino Rea impressed Yamaha as he tried out the bike that helped to carry Cal Crutchlow to 2009 World Supersport Championship title glory at Portimao.
The young Londoner travelled to the Portuguese circuit – scene of the season's WSS title-decider only a handful of days earlier – after mentor Andrew Stone secured him an eleventh-hour opportunity to test the factory SSP YZF R6, meaning Rea returned to Britain from Portimao on Monday only to be informed that he would need to fly back out there again a matter of hours later.
What's more, a best lap time of 1m 46.423s was only a second shy of the pace of Eugene Laverty, who had taken the chequered flag first on Sunday, and his long-run turn of speed was good enough that it would have seen him finish tenth in the race, ahead of no less than double WSS Champion Andrew Pitt on the works ten Kate Honda.
“The bike was amazing to ride,” Rea enthused, quoted by Visordown
. “I think I could have posted a 1m 45s lap, but my final test session was red-flagged and finished ten minutes early. The squad was great fun to work with and the Yamaha team bosses seemed happy with my performance, which is the main thing.
“I've matched the pace of Anthony West and got close to the speed of James Ellison, who had more track time than me, on a bike I'd never ridden before – so I've got to be happy!”