Jonathan Rea update on familiarity with Yamaha after Misano test

Key to lap time at Misano on the Yamaha R1 explained

Jonathan Rea, Catalunya WorldSBK Race1, 23 March
Jonathan Rea, Catalunya WorldSBK Race1, 23 March

Jonathan Rea insists the recent Misano test allowed him to gain familiarity with the Yamaha.

Rea’s WorldSBK season is yet to catch fire since swapping Kawasaki for Yamaha.

This weekend’s fourth round at the same Italian track where WSBK riders recently tested will offer the latest chance to take a major stride forwards.

“I’m excited to go to Misano,” Rea said.

“Especially after a couple of days of testing where I’ve been able to familiarise myself with the Yamaha R1 and also work with the team to get more comfortable on the bike.

“We made some balance adjustments to change how the bike behaves and immediately from the first laps I felt more comfortable.

“We made some positive steps and I really felt like I made a step as well.

“Looking forward to the start of the weekend, it’s always a great race with a lot of fans and hopefully the weather will shine on us and hopefully we can do a really good job for the Pata Prometeon Yamaha team and for all the fans out there.

“I really like the circuit and I have fond memories of Misano – I won my first ever race here back in 2009, so I always have a nice feeling going through the gate and I have holidayed here quite a lot with my family – there’s no better place to be after doing a good job on the bike!”

Rea is stranded in 15th in the WSBK standings three rounds into his first year on a Yamaha.

The key to lap time at Misano

Tom O’Kane, the crew chief for Andrea Locatelli, explained how to maximise the Yamaha around Misano.

“You tend to spend a lot of time searching for grip in Misano,” O’Kane explained.

“Track temperature can be very high and with the nature of the tarmac, the grip becomes exponentially hard to manage.

“For the track layout, you need a really strong balance of braking, turning and acceleration.”

“The circuit itself has a couple of different characteristics: from the final turn through to Turn 1 and all the way to the exit of Turn 6, it’s quite stop-go.

“From Turn 10 to the end of the lap it’s all about carrying speed through the flowing corners. The bike also has to stop really well and in Turn 8 especially is where you’ve got the highest load because you’re braking at an angle, so there’s extra centrifugal force. You need a really stable front for that area.

“Turn 10 is always interesting to watch at because it’s a decreasing radius, and you can see which bikes turn better.

“You need a good drive out of Turn 9 to set up for the straight after Turn 10, and then Turn 11 – Curvone is the fastest corner on any circuit that we go to and you need a stable bike!

“I think the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK should shine at places like Turn 10, where good agility is a must, and also the whole fast section of Turns 11 and 12 into the final corners.

“If we can find the grip and manage temperatures, I’m hopeful of a good weekend with Andrea.”

Locatelli, who is fifth in the championship so far, said: “Finally, we are back for another race weekend and we can enjoy the competition again and fight with the other riders during the sessions and races – I love it, honestly!

“Misano can be a bit of a difficult track with the conditions and grip because normally it is really warm, but I think we have improved a lot this year and during the winter, and since Phillip Island we have made big progress forward.

“The last two tests have been very productive as well, we improved the feeling and some other points, so I think we can arrive ready for Misano race – for sure, it will not be easy but I think we can do well.

“We just need to continue the same way that we started this season in a positive way. A lot of people will be here to support us – probably a lot of cheering for me from my fan club in Selvino and also Yamaha Italy have a big stand only for Yamaha fans which is really nice!

“We will take the positive atmosphere to show on track, the motivation is high to be fast and fight!”

Read More