Jonathan Rea: To win with Yamaha ‘everyone has to take responsibility for that’

Despite a pole position, ‘I expected to be much more competitive’ - Jonathan Rea.

Jonathan Rea, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April
Jonathan Rea, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April

Jonathan Rea returned to the front of WorldSBK after achieving a first pole with Yamaha in Assen.

The six-time world champion was unable to be as competitive in the races, however, given the step in performance compared to Catalunya and Phillip Island especially, it was clear that Rea is on the right track. 

Yet, the factory Yamaha star, who was taken out of Race 2 by Alex Lowes, was hoping for more than two top six finishes from the weekend.

“Certainly, I expected to be much more competitive but a sixth and a fifth, I got taken out in the last race but it’s racing,”began Rea. “What really sucks is that we’ve got four days testing planned but due to the resting restrictions, I can’t use all the days and we have to be clever with how we budget that too.

“I need time on the bike, the crew and the crew needs time to understand. We need to make steps forward with the bike in all areas; a chassis point of view, electronics and step by step, understand each other more.

“At Assen, I understood the feeling but riding the R1 round here, it’s really nice but like a completely different track.

“Different gear patterns at different corners but as you could see with ‘Loka’ and Remy, they did a really good job, so I just need to find that last bit of being competitive.

“To be competitive and win, I think we need to make a step as a team, manufacturer and a rider myself, everyone has to take responsibility for that.

“When you see how serious manufacturers are taking World Superbike, I feel like we need to take that next step now.”

Rea’s former team-mate Lowes was a clear contender for the podium in Race 2 after stealing third place away from Remy Gardner at the final corner in the Superpole Race.

Alex Lowes, Jonathan Rea, Race1, Dutch WorldSBK, 20 April
Alex Lowes, Jonathan Rea, Race1, Dutch WorldSBK, 20 April

But the Kawasaki rider made a poor start and was playing catch-up prior to losing the front-end at turn one.

Speaking about the incident, Lowes said: “Jonny was doing the opposite to me in terms of he had a good start and was coming back whereas I struggled and went back at the beginning before coming back into it later on.

“Our bike’s been working great but it’s not the easiest to pass people on as we haven’t got the best acceleration.

“I got a really good run off the last corner compared to Jonny and broke later to try and pass him.

“Turn 1 was the best chance to pass but it’s easy for both to go wide or I go wide and then the other rider passes you back.

“So I tried to stop the bike a bit more at the apex so as not allow him back through but as it got tighter, I crashed, all by myself but because I was passing him, where could he go?

“So, he hit me as he had nowhere to go; I didn’t smash into him or anything like that.

“It would’ve been another good chance for a solid performance but it was a mistake trying to pass.”

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