Jonathan Rea insists he can leave Imola with his 'head held high', despite two costly errors in the first race preventing him from recording a pair of podiums.
Coming into the race as a favourite for victory following a convincing showing through practice and qualifying, Rea got the first encounter off to a perfect start when he scored the hole-shot into turn one. However, his joy was shortlived when he proceeded to run wide at Villeneuve, dropping him to tenth position.
A spirited fight back would see Rea claw his way up to fourth place, where he looked set to relieve Eugene Laverty of third position with two laps remaining, when he lost his Pata Honda on the exit of Rivazza and slid into retirement.
“I pulled a big 'holey' in race one and thought “I'm gone here”, but I had a big vibration the whole race on the brake disc, so I couldn't push the front like I wanted. I made a mistake on the first lap, but made a lot of ground up and then unfortunately crashed when I was pushing for the podium with a couple of laps to go.”
Desperate to make amends in race two, Rea got away well again but it was soon apparent he didn't have the speed to challenge Tom Sykes ahead. Nonetheless, Rea was very pleased with second place and his third podium of the season.
“Really mixed emotions today,” he said. “We had really good pace all weekend, but not enough for Tom [Sykes] today, who seemed like he had something in reserve, especially when it got hot this afternoon.
“In race two I just rode my ass off and made zero mistakes. In the first five laps I couldn't go with the two guys ahead, so they gapped me and by half distance, Tom had eked out a lead tenth by tenth. I need to work with my crew to make the bike better with a full fuel load and fresh tyres.
“But it's clear that we've addressed some of the problems we've had when the tyres drop. We can leave Imola with our heads held high because we've addressed some of the issues we had earlier in the season and we look forward now to Moscow.”