Jonathan Rea's busy 2012 World Superbike Championship season came to a fitting conclusion as a crash and a podium finish at Magny-Cours assured him of fifth position in the overall standings.
In a year that has seen Rea make his much anticipated MotoGP debut and win the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours, the Ulsterman has shown flashes of brilliance aboard the Honda CBR1000RR, but costly errors would prevent him from mounting a convincing title offensive.
It was a theme that was replicated at Magny-Cours as Rea demonstrated strong race pace throughout the day, not least in the slippery conditions of race one when he established a lead of almost ten seconds. However, a high-side moment on lap twelve would see Rea suffer his sixth mid-race fall of the season.
“I needed some wings in race one when I got caught out by the conditions but it was frustrating because my team gave me a great bike for the wet. Everything was feeling good but I felt a bit like an amateur when I was in the gravel.”
Nonetheless, Rea battled back in race two, circulating early on in fourth position before picking off Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli on the way to second position.
“At the beginning of race two I was a bit wary of the conditions and although I was able to get to the front, Tom (Sykes) didn't make any mistakes. I'm really happy to be part of this championship and congratulations to Max on a great job.”
His sixth podium in a season that also yielded two more wins, Rea, who has already penned a deal to remain with Honda for 2013, is confident the strengths of the CBR1000RR will see him come back even stronger next year.
“At the end of a long season I want to thank the team for their continued hard work. On certain days we've struggled but, on others we've capitalised on the strengths of the bike through the great work ethic we have as a team. We'll go away this winter and I'll make sure I'm in the best condition possible for the 2013 season; I'm sure the team will do the same with the CBR.”
Rea and new team-mate Leon Haslam will return to track action on Wednesday at Assen before they join their rivals at a group test in Spain next month.