WSBK Imola: Jonathan Rea celebrates first pole since 2011

Jonathan Rea claims surprise Imola WSBK pole.
Jonathan Rea is fired up for race day at Imola after claiming his first WSBK pole position since 2011.

Buoyed by a wet victory last time at Assen, the Pata Honda rider has been inside the top three throughout the Imola weekend, culminating in only a fourth WSBK pole by 0.265s over Aprilia's Sylvain Guintoli.

Having gone so long without a pole, and focussing his attention on race pace, the Ulsterman admitted it came as a surprise.

“Honestly, I didn't really expect that! I knew we had really good pace and we were working towards the race tomorrow. But this pole position lark doesn't really have my name on it so I'm really happy.

“The lap was really good but I just want to thank all the guys in my box who've been working incredibly hard. They're making the CBR better and better and to do it in Pata's back yard here in Italy is just great.

“I'm looking forward to two strong races tomorrow and hopefully we can get some good results then.”

Ducati's Davide Giugliano will join Rea and Guintoli on Sunday's front row. Rea's team-mate Leon Haslam will line-up in tenth place after suffering a final practice highside.

“Yeah, it was a pretty rubbish afternoon,” said Haslam. “I felt we were making some good progress up until the second session today when I had a problem with the shifter on the outlap which caused a bit of a highside. I couldn't quite get the gear and it threw me off and we lost the whole session.

“I had a familiar problem in Superpole with the extra grip from the qualifer and ended up going slower than I did on the race tyre. We'd made some good progress this weekend, but had a bad afternoon.”

Rea is currently fourth in the championship, 19 points behind Tom Sykes, who will start from sixth position. Haslam is ninth in the standings.

Tagged as: Honda

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May 10, 2014 11:09 PM

I think Haslem is officially blocking talent from the factory HRC ride. Honda will have a new bike and Leon has valid reasons but just can't keep up anymore. I'd really like to see Nicky Hayden in WSB. He can win races there, bring an American (on camera) there etc..


May 11, 2014 2:53 AM

"I'd really like to see Nicky Hayden in WSB. He can win races there, bring an American (on camera) there etc.." It's hard to tell how Nicky would go in sbk these days he wouldn't be riding against a bunch of numpties. Melandri is a good yard stick to measure him against they both last won a gp race back in 2006. Race winning potential yes championship winner would be difficult with the likes of Guintoli and Sykes around especially if he ain't riding a factory bike. Go Rea!!! Equally surprised that you got it on pole in Imola.

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