Rea: Bautista ‘can go for real, it’s not like we blow up’

Six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea says the likes of himself and Toprak Razgatlioglu are not blowing up in races trying to beat Alvaro Bautista, but rather that the Ducati rider, along with his team are simply doing a better job of keeping their pace ‘over longer distance’.
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Assen 2023
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Assen 2023

Rea finished the opening feature race of the Assen WorldSBK round in second after challenging Bautista for several laps.

But as has been the case for much of this season, Bautista capitalised on his more consistent rhythm to eventually win in commanding fashion.

Tyre degradation is certainly a factor that results in slower lap times as races go on, but Rea was not that much slower in the final laps compared to the early part of the race. 

Instead, Bautista was able to keep churning out similar times throughout which resulted in Rea losing time due to being on the limit just to stay in touch, therefore over-stressing his tyres more than Bautista.

"I was riding over myself and my package just to be there," Rea "In doing that, I over-stressed the front tyre and was nursing it a little bit at the end. 

"I could see the gap to Toprak was enough; there’s work to do to make riding at that pace more comfortable. When he came, he went past and it seemed it was at ease. Congratulations to him, he’s done a very good job with his team but certainly a step forward for us.

"Not a turning point but back to where I feel like I should be; battling for a podium, to win a race. It’s a long season and I feel like we got off to a bad start in the flyaway races but now we’re in normal conditions. 

"I’m looking forward to Sunday, if we can just make some small changes tomorrow and look after the front."

Jonathan Rea, Dutch WorldSBK, 21 April
Jonathan Rea, Dutch WorldSBK, 21 April

Rea says most of the time he lost was in the acceleration area and on the straights, something that had been evident throughout practice as Bautista was quicker than every rider in sector two.

Speaking further about Bautista’s ability to push on without relenting his pace, Rea added: "I feel like I am there or there abouts; it’s like when he says he can go and be for real, he can go. 

"It’s not like we blow up, they’re just doing a better job over longer distance. We need to put some more performance back in the ZX-10RR, it’s very hard right now but we’re getting everything out of it. 

"We need more, we need to be more competitive, especially in the acceleration areas and the straights. 

"I was giving away a pretty free pass coming back towards the paddock but there was nothing I could do. We’ll keep fighting and it’s back to something nice, fighting for the podium."

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