Rea: ‘I had to re-learn how to ride’ after gear shift issues

Despite taking the lead of Race 1 on the opening lap and remaining there for over half the race, six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea was having to fend off gear shift problems throughout.
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Phillip Island 2023
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Phillip Island 2023

Rea, who ultimately settled for second after being unable to maintain the pace of WorldSBK champion Alvaro Bautista, was seen chopping the throttle coming out of turn two on several occasions.

While it’s difficult to say whether Rea could have stayed with Bautista without the issue given the pace advantage the Ducati rider has had throughout the weekend, it certainly hindered the 36-year-old. 

Rain prior to the race was expected to reduce Bautista’s advantage, which it did, but when the reigning world champion did take the lead he never looked back. 

Speaking after his first podium of the new season, Rea said: “I feel great! Honestly, physically, I’m in a great moment. I feel experienced. I started this journey in 2008 in WorldSSP and then WorldSBK in 2009, so I feel blessed to have this job. 

"Really fortunate to work with great people. I’ve met so many friends in this journey. I owe WorldSBK a lot and I’ve contributed to it as well."

"I had some difficulties out on the track but, setup wise, the bike was faultless. The conditions were very difficult. 

Jonathan Rea Race 1, Australian WorldSBK, 25 February
Jonathan Rea Race 1, Australian WorldSBK, 25 February

"We need to find out the solution to this little issue we had during the race. I’m sure it definitely hindered us quite a bit, especially in the braking and on the long straights on the gear shifts."

Regarding the gear shift issue, Rea went into more detail in parc ferme as he stated ‘I had to re-learn how to ride’.

"I don’t know exactly what happened as I’ve just got back from parc ferme," added the Kawasaki rider. "I couldn’t change gears or backshift the way I wanted so it was back to old school riding. I had to re-learn how to ride the bike especially when braking. 

"That was the hardest thing. Generally, I have to use my clutch to help but my clutch lever’s here for the start because I had my brake lever in place. 

"It was one of those… it wasn’t the most beautiful riding style but I got to the end so pretty happy with that. We’ll analyse what happened."

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