WSBK Imola: Jonathan Rea 'It’ll hot up tomorrow'

“Tomorrow when the track gets a bit more rubbered-in I think you'll see the pace starting to hot up a little bit” – Jonathan Rea.
Jonathan Rea doesn't expect his pace setting Friday WSBK lap time at Imola to stand unchallenged for long.

The Pata Honda rider topped the day one timesheets courtesy of a 1m 48.147s best during a disrupted afternoon session.

That time is almost one-second off the official race lap record set by world champion Tom Sykes last season, and over two-seconds from the pole record.

However it was enough to keep Rea 0.040s clear of Sykes' Kawasaki rider on Friday, when a broken drainage cover caused FP2 to be abandoned with twelve minutes remaining.

“I really enjoyed being back at Imola today. The bike is clearly working quite well here but we still need to make some good improvements, especially getting the power down off the slower corners and final turning with engine brake. But for our first day we've got to be happy because our pace is OK.

“The ultimate lap time I didn't think was very fast compared to the race or the test here last year. But the track is quite fresh and there's not a lot of rubber down – there haven't been any big meetings here before us.

“Tomorrow when the track gets a bit more rubbered-in I think you'll see the pace starting to hot up a little bit. We'll work hard tonight to refine the bike even more and hopefully go with that pace.”

Rea's team-mate Leon Haslam had been preparing to return to the track with fresh tyres when FP2 was cancelled, leaving him seventh in both sessions.

“This morning felt pretty good and I did the whole session on the harder tyre,” said Haslam. “I felt we could have got into the 48s with our last tyre but I got held up a bit. This afternoon I got a couple of laps together on the SC0. I went slightly quicker but couldn't really get a good lap together and then the red flag came out.

“I just didn't really get a chance to go for a good lap time on a softer tyre. Generally, I felt really happy this morning and just didn't get a really good go at it this afternoon.

A full World Superbike schedule is expected at Imola on Saturday, with Free Practice 3 going at 09.45 to determine which riders will take part in the afternoon Superpole sessions.

Tagged as: Honda

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