Jonathan Rea has been left with mixed emotions coming away from the second round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship at Motorland Aragon after exceeding his own expectations with a fourth in race one before suffering with brake issues in race two.
Having embarked on an intense testing programme to the Spanish round in an attempt to cure the Pata Honda's problematic electronics issues, Rea appeared to have found a breakthrough as he diced with the front runners during practice and qualifying.
It was form could maintain in race one, but while the Ulsterman was pleased with his feisty run to what became fourth position, he admits the Honda's top speed disadvantage down the back straight was forcing him into some 'intense' riding over the remainder of the lap.
“In the races I was unable to compete with the guys around me on the straight, which made riding the rest of the circuit very intense. In race one we had a game plan that worked out better than we expected because a few riders had some misfortune. We plugged away and were there to pick up the pieces and finished fourth. For me it felt like a podium because we've come from a long way back and we kind of had the feeling that we were climbing a ladder.”
Rea's hopes of a similar result in race two, however, were scuppered early on when he suffered brake problems that would force him into the pit lane.
“Then in race two it was like someone kicked me back of f it because I had a problem with the brake adjuster. The brake kept winding itself in and for one lap I tried to ride with it but the lever was coming back to the bar. I was going to be a risk to other riders so I came in to fix that. Again, my pace was strong when I rejoined which is a real shame because I felt like we deserved some more points in race two.
“It's hard to know what to say, really, because it was clear that we were on a bit of a high coming to the races here after the test two weeks ago. Immediately on Friday morning the bike felt a lot better and we worked really hard with the guys all weekend and put in a long run to understand the electronics setting. I feel that we got it in a satisfactory area where I was happy to push, but I'm disappointed with the overall performance.
“We go to Assen with no more testing which gives the guys some downtime. I think we all need it because we've had a lot of testing recently, but we'll hopefully learn from these issues and start again in Assen.”