Jonathan Rea’s worrying injury update ahead of WSBK opener

Jonathan Rea is still feeling the effects of a crash just days ago, heading into Phillip Island

Jonathan Rea, Australian WorldSBK, 20 February
Jonathan Rea, Australian WorldSBK, 20 February

Jonathan Rea is “not 100%” heading into this weekend’s World Superbikes opening round after crashing 48 hours ago.

Rea fell off his Yamaha on Tuesday at a preseason testing day at Phillip Island, emerging with bumps and bruises.

It means his Yamaha race debut in Australia this weekend arrives under difficult circumstances.

He said on Thursday about his condition: “More or less okay. Not 100%.

“I woke up yesterday feeling sorry for myself. Today was better, hopefully tomorrow we take another step.

“On Tuesday we desperately needed to get on the bike to confirm some functional items.

“So I kept the laps to a minimum.

“We start tomorrow for real. I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment.

“It will be nice to roll down pitlane for the first official session of 2024, and get stuck in.

“We don’t understand what sort of weather we will face. It will be windy, the temperature will drop, we need to play it by ear.”

Asked if he could fight to win this weekend, he said: “Right now, no. Far from it.

“My ultimate pace hasn’t been so fast. My race rhythm isn’t fast, we need to improve.

“The simple answer is no.

“Maybe tomorrow afternoon I can put myself in a position to fight for the front positions.

“It would be a dream but you have to be realistic, as well.

“Right now, winning a race is a dream. Reality? We have a lot of work to achieve that.”

Rea’s plan for Phillip Island: “The main priority is to come away from the race with a bag full of points to start our season for real, back in Europe.”

Rea has swapped Kawasaki for Yamaha in a bid for an seventh WSBK title this year.

He summarised his preseason: “The overall feeling is mixed.

“I enjoy riding the bike and working with the team.

“I’ve been fast with the bike. But to be really, really fast? I need to demand feeling.

“Track by track, we get there. Jerez, Portimao I finished strong. The Portimao new track gave us a curveball.

“The riding style I’d normally use isn’t quite working here. I am still learning, and also trying to make the bike mine.

“I’m trying to use the benefits of the R1 but also to put my stamp on it.”

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