Jonathan Rea says he is 'satisfied' to be coming away from the opening round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship clutching a fourth place finish just days after being laid up in hospital with an injured wrist.
The Ulsterman has spent his weekend battling through the pain barrier after hurting his hand and wrist in a testing accident, but showed no ill effects during the early stages of race one as he worked his way into the battle for third position.
However, as he began to lose feeling in his hand, Rea out-braked himself at turn four, dropping the Castrol Honda down the order to an eventual 12th place finish.
A calmer performance in race two would see Rea make up ground at a slower rate in an effort to preserve his strength to the final few laps. It was a strategy that would pay dividends when he snatched fourth off Leon Haslam on the final lap.
Though frustrated by his mistake in race one, Rea was otherwise pleased to be ending a tough weekend on a high note.
“I'm absolutely drained but I guess pretty satisfied after everything we've been through over the last few days,” he said. “I'm annoyed that I out-braked myself in race one but I had no power in my hands.
“I passed Nori (Haga) in race two but he came back on a big surge to the leading group and I couldn't go with him. I didn't have much strength but I knew I could be fitter than anyone at the end of the race to keep the lap times. The bike was working really well and I could stay in the 33s until I caught Fabrizio and Haslam, when I took a bit of a breather just to catch my breath and look at them.
“I could've passed Leon in a few places I think, but I've been doing most of my passing around turns seven and eight and decided to save all my energy to pass him there on the last lap.
“If you'd told me when I was lying in hospital on Wednesday that I'd come away from here sixth in the championship, I'd have laughed at you. Big thanks to the team, who got a physio here to help me between sessions and races to help me relax, and the bike, which never missed a beat this weekend.
“We still need to find a little bit of speed on the straights because I struggled passing people into turn one, but overall I'm satisfied with what we got from here.”