Rea: ‘I didn’t feel good at all, had zero grip’ - Toprak in difficulty as well?

As track temperatures ramped up in FP2, both Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu ran into difficulty, leaving the pair scratching their heads as WorldSBK champion Alvaro Bautista had no such issues.
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Phillip Island 2023
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Phillip Island 2023

After finishing fifth in FP1, Rea could only manage 14th during FP2 which is the type of position we’ve become very unfamiliar with seeing the six-time WorldSBK champion occupy in any session.

The same went for Razgatlioglu, who appeared to struggle a bit more throughout the day compared to Rea.

The 2021 world champion was 13th in FP2, as both riders finished well over a second behind Bautista who was in a class of his own. 

"I felt very solid in the first session, our pace was good," said Rea before delving deeper in to why he struggled in FP2. 

"As soon as the temperature crept up and I did my first out in FP2, I didn’t feel good with the bike at all. I had zero edge grip. We tried a small setup change to go back. We were trying something and we were curious to go back and check our base setup. 

"Even with our base setup, I had zero grip. We weren’t pushing the tyre, the tyre wasn’t in range of temperature or pressure. It’s also true that our bike isn’t working great on the edge of the tyre. 

"We need to make the bike turn more naturally. That’s going to be a priority tomorrow. When I launch the bike into the corner, I need it to track around the corner and not to use the rear or to slide and correct the line. 

"This is wasting the rear tyre. We’re looking for edge grip tomorrow and some turning."

For Razgatlioglu, race pace was the main object during FP2 and although his final position didn’t reflect his true potential, the Pata Yamaha rider was left unconvinced about his chances. 

Toprak Razgatlioglu Australian WorldSBK, 24 February
Toprak Razgatlioglu Australian WorldSBK, 24 February

"In the afternoon, it was unbelievably hot," added Razgatlioglu. "The asphalt was 51, 52 degrees. We tried a race simulation. It looks like it wasn’t really fast but also it wasn’t bad. 

"We tried some new setups for the race. Tomorrow looks like the weather will be cooler which will help for the grip. For me, today was not an easy day. 

"I was just focused on my race simulation because this is really important. I need to understand the bike after ten laps and the feeling. 

"We need to understand which tyres are better for the race and this is really important."

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