Jonathan Rea has been left frustrated by his Suzuka 8 Hours crash which dented his Kawasaki Team Green’s victory hopes but still feels positive having demonstrated the team’s strong pace at the iconic event.

The #11 Kawasaki Team Green squad had been involved in the three-way fight for victory over the opening half of the Suzuka race but during the mid-race rain shower while still on dry tyres Rea tumbled off on the wet circuit.

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Rea was able to remount and return to the pits with the crash being relatively low speed but after some quick repairs and change for wet tyres the team lost a lap to the front two which pushed the #11 squad on to the backfoot in its fight for victory. With the race remaining dry after the shower Kawasaki were given little chance to bridge the gap on the front two and had to settle for third place.

The reigning World Superbike champion has described the fall as a ‘strange crash’ having not been pushing the limits in the wet and was frustrated at not opting to pit for wet tyres sooner.

“I was on slick tyres in the full wet and I was asking the pit with my hand if I could come in and the pit board kept saying stay [out],” Rea said. “It was a strange crash as there was not too much lean angle, no throttle and the rear came around like a Speedway bike.

“Unfortunately I couldn’t save it but fortunately no injury and I was able to get the bike back so we only lost one lap. It was really frustrating as it came in a bad moment for us.

“It was very, very difficult as we had so many different conditions thrown at us and things that we weren’t prepared for in endurance racing with a lack of experience. Maybe I should have stuck to my guns when I wanted to come into the pits instead of listening to my pit board.”

Despite his frustrations, Rea feels Kawasaki can still take positives away from this year’s race having set a new lap record on his way to pole position, a 2m 05.168s, which took out almost a full second on the previous record held by Pol Espargaro on the #21 Yamaha set in 2015.

“I am really happy because I gave a big effort, along with Leon, Kazuma and all the team,” he said. “We fell short, the chips didn’t fall our way, but congratulations to Yamaha and Honda as they did I good race. I didn’t happen for us but we proved our speed which I’m really happy about.”

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