World Superbike Championship leader Jonathan Rea has described the first day of action around Donington Park as 'tough' after spending time rectifying set-up issues.

Winner of the last three races to move into the lead of the WSBK standings for the first time in his career, Rea would turn in the eighth fastest time following the three practice sessions to, crucially, qualify through to SP2 automatically.

However, he admits he spent a large portion of his day focused on set-up, even if he believes he made a breakthrough on the PATA Honda in the closing stages.

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"Honestly, it's been a tough day to get a good base setting around here," he said. "We started from zero with our electronics here so we came to our initial setting with information from last year. It seems like we've been chasing an engine brake setting all day but the good news is that in the final session we found some improvement so I think we're on top of that.

"It seems like we wasted a lot of time concentrating on that and it seems like the forecast for tomorrow is not so good to continue in the final free practice with a dry set-up. But, if this afternoon was our final dry session before the race, we have some ideas to go with.

"It's not been a perfect day but we can take some positives that we've improved the bike. I guess tomorrow we'll focus on our wet set-up and see what happens on Sunday."

Joining Rea in SP2, team-mate Leon Haslam was ninth quickest on the second CBR1000RR, adding that he was less enamoured with the decision to combine all three practice sessions on the same day.

"We didn't really make much progress between sessions one and two, and we could really have done with a night's sleep then to think about everything and make a better step to session three as normal! So, yeah, it's been tough having three sessions today and we lost a bit of progression.

"We can see the issues though, and we know where they are, so I'm confident we can make a step. We could use another dry session, but it looks like the weather is going to say otherwise. So we need to make some progress, sure, but it's not as bad as it looks on the timing sheets!"