Gino Rea kicked off his World Supersport Championship career in impressive style with a run to tenth position at Phillip Island.
The reigning European Superstock 600 Champion was making his category debut in Australia after joining the Intermoto Honda team over the winter, but despite only making his first public appearance in testing a week prior to the opening round, he demonstrated his progress throughout the weekend.
Qualifying 14th on the grid, a strong start lifted Rea up to ninth position by the end of the first lap where he would proceed to battle away with Jason Di Salvo and Miguel Praia, eventually crossing the line tenth.
However, Rea believes he could have finished higher, suggesting his tactic of preserving his tyres was not necessary before adding he could have been battling it out for a top six finish.
“That was a frustrating race,” he said. “Having known what to do now after my first 21 lap race, I would have pushed harder from the beginning and went with the leading group as I think I had the pace. I feel I saved the tyre for too long and it just didn't pay off.
“I also should have passed both Miguel Praia and Jason Di Salvo at the end as I had more pace then them. Even with the chassis set up still needing work, I feel I still could have battled for top six positions. So that's why I'm frustrated.
“On the other hand, with so many unknowns coming into this race weekend, we have come away with points and a top ten for the team.
“I want to say a massive thanks to Andrew Stone, my chief tech who has worked non stop and believed in me when we hit a brick wall and couldn't improve our set up over practice and qualifying, my mechanics and the whole team too for putting in so much effort and working hard to overcome language issues and to make us feel welcome."