Jonathan Rea’s first Yamaha pole position: “I felt at one with the bike”

Jonathan Rea reflects on his most productive WSBK day on a Yamaha yet

Jonathan Rea, Andrew Pitt, Race1, Dutch WorldSBK, 20 April
Jonathan Rea, Andrew Pitt, Race1, Dutch WorldSBK, 20 April

Jonathan Rea claimed his first WorldSBK pole position on a Yamaha on Saturday.

Rea then finished sixth in Race 1 at Assen but it represented his best day so far on his new machinery.

He grabbed pole with a best time of 1’42.650s, a tenth better than Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega - it was his 44th pole position but his first since leaving Kawasaki.

“I really enjoyed the Superpole session because I felt at one with the bike, even in the tricky conditions,” Rea said.

“Lap after lap, I felt the rhythm.

“You never know how fast to go because there’s a lot of risk, but the track was damp and drying out.

“That overheats the tyres, and you move around. I kept thinking someone would come in for an intermediate, but I had no time left, so when I saw P1 on my pitboard, I was so happy.

“Not just me but all the guys in the team, we needed this lift. It’s nice for Yamaha too.”

P6 in Race 1 was Rea’s best result on a Yamaha yet, at the third round of the 2024 WSBK season.

The race was made chaotic by the wet weather before it was shockingly won by debutant Nicholas Spinelli.

“It set us up for the race to make a good start,” Rea said.

“I got the holeshot but, in the first part, you never want to be the guy leading in those conditions because you don’t know how slippery it is.

“I made a couple of mistakes.

“The defining moment of my race was probably ‘Loka’ coming through at the last corner, I lost two positions just off the back of the group.

“I had a huge moment between Turns 2 and 3.

“Aside from that, you had to be patient until the track dried out.

“The track almost got completely dry, there was a dry line through sector one, and the rest of the track dried throughout the race.

“There are some areas we need to improve the bike tomorrow.

“A real shame the red flag came out because I felt like I was making some progress at the end. I could smell a podium, but I was just too far away.”

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