Jonathan Rea: ‘’I’ve been told I can’t say much, but I’d love to say the full story’

Jonathan Rea says the struggles he’s dealing with at Yamaha are ‘unacceptable’ after another difficult day at Phillip Island.

Jonathan Rea, Australian WorldSBK, 23 February
Jonathan Rea, Australian WorldSBK, 23 February

Six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea appeared lost during Friday Practice at Phillip Island after issues resulted in him having limited track time.

Many riders were impacted by the weather conditions, but Rea was last to set a flying lap in FP2.

The former Kawasaki rider did not set a lap time until eight minutes to go, and as a result Rea was unable to find enough pace to trouble the top times.

“It’s been a super difficult day; as you can see, I didn’t do many laps on track,” said Rea. “I didn’t know with the weather to be honest but we suffered some issues straight away this morning, probably continuing on from the test.

“We struggled to pinpoint exactly what it is; the bike is very difficult to ride. We’re trying to rule out the problems and we’re changing the setup of the bike quite a lot but not touching on it.

“Fundamentally, something is not right and it’s not exactly how I imagined day one of the season to start but we are where we are and I have full confidence in the team to find the root of the issue and try to be stronger tomorrow.

“We’re so far away to be thinking about a chance. First, we need to have a good feeling with the bike and then nail the pitstop and see where we are. Hopefully, we can start in the right way.”

As part of the elimination process to find what the issues are, Rea said they are trying different items but that the current situation is ‘unacceptable’.

“We’re working as a team through the items, trying to eradicate it,” said Rea. “Right now, it’s unacceptable; something’s not right and we need to find the problem.

“I’ve been told I can’t say too much but it’s frustrating for me as well as I’d love to say the full story… it’s been a difficult day, one of the most difficult.

“I have full belief in the guys that we’ll find it but it’s not how I dreamed of starting the World Championship.

“We’re really on the backfoot; I knew that when I was running out of time, I had to register a lap time. Maybe they were the sketchiest three laps I’ve ever done!

“Even with the issue, I’m not riding the R1 in the best way, but I need to get the bike close enough to me to exploit my strengths.

“We need to find the issue otherwise it’ll be the hardest race of my life.”

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