Jonathan Rea says he produced the maximum he could manage at Imola after a difficult race weekend ended with two second places.
The defending World Superbike champion suffered hairy moments in both races at Imola as he struggled with a range of technical issues on the Kawasaki ZX-10R. After having to manage engine braking problems in race one Rea had a heart-in-mouth moment in race two after running wide at the final chicane which almost threw him off the bike.
Despite a fine recovery the Northern Irish rider says the bike momentarily died on him on the straight a few laps later and he lost valuable time to runaway leader Chaz Davies which effectively ended his charge.
As a result, the Kawasaki rider sees his championship lead trimmed back to 35 points by the Aruba.it Racing Ducati man who has also ended his dominance at Imola, Rea having claimed four straight wins at the Italian track before this weekend.
“It feels like when we can't win we should finish second and we did that at Imola,” Rea said. “It is clear now that there are three guys now at the top of the championship. Every dog has his day and today was not ours.
“Chaz made a very good first lap [in race two] and broke me a little bit but then I felt like I was managing the same pace and maybe even faster. Then I had a huge moment on the exit of the last chicane. I ran onto the Astroturf, which had held moisture from last night's rain.
“A few laps later, when I was in fifth gear and on full gas, my bike just cut out on the straight. I lost two or three seconds in one lap. It fired into life again but it took me a few corners to relax again.”