Jonathan Rea is happy with his fifth position on the grid for the third round of the World Superbike Championship at Assen after doing the best he could on a used race tyre during Superpole.
The Castrol Honda rider headed into Superpole having topped Q2, but could do nothing to challenge Carlos Checa when it mattered, the Spaniard out-pacing Rea by almost a second.
However, Rea was pleased with his pace on a used race tyre having been forced to use the qualifying rubber in Q1 and Q2 so as not to be caught out amidst a tight mid-field.
With this in mind, Rea – who won both races at Assen last year – is confident he will be a factor in the fight for the podium come race day.
“Today's been much more positive and we made big improvements with our clutch set-up which has allowed the bike to be a lot more stable under braking,” he said. “It's been a big step forward that we've lacked so far this season.
“Session two was good today and we got long runs on both options to try and sort the race tyre out, so we've covered our bases whether the temperature rises or falls tomorrow.
“Unfortunately we had to use a Q in the first Superpole because the front tyre wasn't quite right. Superpole 2 was fantastic and we were third fastest with good pace but then we were out of Qs for Superpole 3.
“I tried to recycle one, which wasn't so good and went back out on a used race tyre. We should probably have used a new one but with the available quantities that wasn't an option.
“We're still evaluating whether to run to softer tyre tomorrow, so we nee ded to keep some back. But I went quite quick on the used one so I'm happy with that. The plan is still to aim for the podium in both races tomorrow.”