caught up with World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea, moments after the Kawasaki star claimed a runner-up finish to team-mate Tom Sykes in Saturday's opening race at Sepang.
Sykes finished 5.6s ahead of Rea, who was in turn 2.4s ahead of nearest title rival Chaz Davies…
Hi Jonathan, what do you need to change for race two?
“Honestly I don't know because all weekend he seemed to have very similar pace and today maybe I could have had more pace in the beginning, but I was quite happy to let him make a fast rhythm because I was quite conscious that the more I pushed the tyre in the beginning the more it would go away at the end.
“But it didn't seem to happen. He sent a really fast rhythm at the beginning and was able to set a really fast rhythm for the race. So we've learned that for tomorrow. That the grip level here with our bikes is quite good and constant, maybe I can try and go with him at the beginning.”
Were you a bit conservative at the beginning, thinking Tom would come back to you?
“Definitely. I was quite happy to let him go because of history. I think everybody was kind of expecting him to come back. And he never did. So congratulations. He did a great job. But I was happy with my result. Honestly I was pushing the front quite a lot, trying to make the bike turn. Overcompensating for the lack of turning. So we need to improve the balance of the bike, just to make the bike turn more naturally. So we're not stressing the front tyre and putting too much lean angle on it. But asides from that I was happy with the result.”
Were you using the same tyres as Tom?
“I'm not sure for the front, but everyone pretty much used the same SC1 rear tyre. The front was a choice of SC2 or SC3. I went with SC2. I don't know what the others did.”
By Peter McLaren