Yamaha hoping for ‘good middle and end to story’ with Jonathan Rea

Paul Denning says ‘bad luck’ has prevailed during Jonathan Rea’s start to life at Yamaha.

Jonathan Rea, Catalunya WorldSBK, 23 March
Jonathan Rea, Catalunya WorldSBK, 23 March

It took six races for Jonathan Rea to finally score points for Yamaha, following a dreadful WorldSBK season-opener at Phillip Island.

A lack of performance has been one of the reasons why Rea has struggled, however, the six-time world champion has encountered his fair share of bad luck as well.

Although Denning didn’t want to use excuses, the Pata Prometeon Yamaha team principal said both Rea and Andrea Locatelli have suffered from unfortunate circumstances.

Denning told WorldSBK.com: “Good luck and bad luck does exist but I am always very wary of relying on that as any form of justification for a good or poor result, particularly in the case of a poor result, you're not doing anything proactive to try and improve.

“Unfortunately, on JR’s side of the garage, on top of issues that we could have been on top of and done better with, sometimes when you’re in trouble, the world conspires to make it a little bit more difficult for you by throwing in more bad luck on top.

“Ignoring Jonathan’s travails, on Loka’s side of the garage, it would be easy to it was ‘bad luck to be ran off the track’ on the first lap in Barcelona but if we’d qualified better and he’d been in the first six, he’d not have been run off the track.

“So, qualify better – whether it's to use a better strategy or have more ultimate performance in the bike – whatever it is, to be further up the grid and then he’d not have been in that position.

“Luck does come into it but if you dig in, then there’s always something as a group you could have done to avoid it.”

After nine seasons with Kawasaki and all six of his title winning campaigns alongside Pere Riba, Rea switched crew chiefs as part of his move to Yamaha.

A former team-mate on-track Andrew Pitt moved across from Locatelli’s side of the garage to join Rea.

And despite the early-season issues Rea has had, the relationship between both has been very good according to Denning.

“I would say really well despite the results,” said Denning. “Obviously, everyone had a super difficult test and race in Australia.

“When a rider has a big crash and then another at the same corner and things aren’t flowing that tensions are felt.

“However, AP has responded really well to it and during the test and the race, I thought he did a really solid job. The issues he had in Race 1 and Superpole, Andrew could have done nothing about from his side in order to prevent or improve those situations.

“He’s doing his best in order to keep everything positive and calm. Jonathan has a really good trust with Andrew and his work ethic, the way he motivates the guys in the box and his desire to do well.

“For JR, his character is one whereby he really responds to that desire of everyone in the garage to do well and Andrew is very much a competitor.

“I think in a new team, the fact that they knew each other for so long and very well personally, gave Jonathan a level of trust and comfort which he may have otherwise not had. 

“We may not have had a positive start to the story but if we keep working in a positive way, then we can have a good middle and end to the story.”

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