Jonathan Rea hopes crucial issue with Yamaha is over after rewarding Misano test

“I’ve been trying to ride the Yamaha in the Yamaha way and sometimes it’s not working."

Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea spent the Misano WorldSBK test trying to tweak his Yamaha to suit his riding style.

Rea was fourth-fastest on Day 1 then second-fastest on Day 2 in Italy, the highest-placed Yamaha on both days.

He did 73 laps on Thursday with a best time of 1’33.206s. He tested a new chassis balance, different weight distributions and rider positions.

On Friday Rea did half-a-day, his 1’33.133s was enough to top the timesheet until Toprak Razgatlioglu’s blistering time.

The WSBK legend has found his first months since leaving Kawasaki trying, but he hopes a breakthrough was found in Misano.

Rea explained about Friday: “We put an SCQ tyre on at the end and I was able to go quite fast.

“It was the first time I felt that I could ride the bike the way I wanted with it.

“In the last few rounds, I’ve got nervous with the SCQ because I didn’t feel 100% with the bike.

“Step by step, it’s been a positive test but still a lot of work to do. The updates were just a balance change on the bike, setup ideas.

“I’ve been trying to ride the Yamaha in the Yamaha way and sometimes it’s not working.

“I always looked at the data of Loka, Remy and even sometimes Toprak but I’m me, I have my style.

“At Cremona, [Yamaha rider coach] Nico Canepa was a big help with the video analysis, and I was able to see that my lap time wasn’t amazing, but I was really good in some areas.

“We just need to make this bike my bike in the way I need to ride.

“The idea to change the way the bike behaves, the style, the geometry was to let me ride in the way I want. From the first exit, it seemed quite normal to me.”

Rea added: “I enjoyed the R1 this test, we arrived with some different set-up ideas than my ‘base bike’ over the first races and I was able to ride in a more familiar style, just trying to get the Yamaha R1 to compliment me and for me to adapt subtly to the bike.

“With testing days restricted, we had to make the best use of track time and we had a great Day 1 – I was able to complete a lot of laps with no issues, I felt quite competitive with my pace both on race tyres and also the soft tyre.

“Then, Day 2 was a little bit more complicated because the weather came in really early – and I was only able to utilise half a day, so we had to be very clever timing-wise.

“I was able to tick some boxes still and get more familiar with the bike and start fine-tuning towards the race weekend.

“Still lots of work to do, but I am happy to start the Misano race weekend soon and excited for the prospects, but we still need to look at our race pace on Friday.

“It’s been nice to feel good on the bike and especially on the soft tyre, I was really able to get the R1 around fast.

“It felt like a real Superpole session at the end, everyone was going full gas with SCQ tyres and we managed to finish right there in the front row positions.

“It is possibly the best I have felt with the Yamaha R1 and my team, but there’s still a lot of margin to find so I have a positive outlook.”

'Jonathan Rea's best day of testing'

Pata Prometeon Yamaha Team Principal, Paul Denning, added: “Day 1 was really positive.

“I think it was Jonathan’s best day of testing, and actually the first test at Jerez was good as well. It was a positive day of testing, making steps forward all day.

“At Cremona, we didn’t really find that. We came to a wall and couldn’t get over it.

“Here, he was progressively faster all day and arrived very close to the fastest riders at the end with P4, and the fastest Yamaha, so for JR it was a target achieved that he wanted to do at the start of the day.

“Jonathan [only did half a day on Friday] to finish his testing allocation. The plan was the same as [Thursday].

“Just refining small details, trying to maximise our performance in braking, cornering, and turning so that the better we can exit the corner, and the faster we are in the middle of the corner, the better we are in terms of any straight-line speed differential.

“Chattering is always an issue here, especially in the last sector, so we’re trying some setting options to reduce that and, so far, they’re working quite well.”

Andrea Locatelli detailed his test: “In general, it was two positive days of testing, because we improved some important points, also the lap times with the SC0 tyre this morning and the SCX during the day were very good.

“With the qualifying tyre we found a good solution to have a good feeling and a good lap time, even if I had a small crash at Turn 14 on my best lap.

“We know it is really important to start the race near the front, but on the rhythm for the race simulation we are not in a bad position.

“I think we increased the performance, we improved a lot in respect to last year and the confidence is quite high.

“I feel positive, so I think we can enjoy the race weekend - the confidence after Cremona test and this test is good. Just some days to reset and rest a little bit, and to check the data, prepare for the race weekend – and then we go again on track and we are pushing at the maximum.”

The fourth round of the WSBK season begins June 14 in Misano.

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