Jonathan Rea admitted he "bottled it" in the final sector of his final lap during World Superbike qualifying at a drenched Magny-Cours.

The recently crowned world champion was on course to better Leon Haslam's fastest time on his final lap, posting three fastest sectors as the chequered flag was readied.

However, Rea lost the advantage in the final sector, falling an agonising 0.004s short of Haslam's time. His final effort was good enough to consolidate second on the grid.

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"I was so nervous because going down the last hill into the final complex it is like a sheet of water and there were no riders in front to make a line," said Rea. "Every lap I was so nervous there. I saw on the big screen that my sectors were red, red, red, meaning I was fastest but I just bottled it in the last part!

"Everything was going good earlier in Superpole and I was P2, P2 and then the red flag came. I went back to pitlane and nobody was in the Superpole enclosure. My crew chief Pere said, 'pitlane opens again in ten seconds.'

"So I had to go again, with the same tyres. The problem is keeping heat in the tyres because I had slowed down and come back into pitlane. I had some moments on my out lap under deceleration, which is the main issue we need to improve in wet conditions. But it was fun."

Despite missing out on pole position, Rea was pleased with a front start considering the lack of time he has had on the bike in wet conditions.

"To be on the front row is good because we have done a lot of work over the weekend in dry conditions. Then being suddenly thrown a wet session, which I was nervous of, a front row start was the best we could have hoped for."