After losing the championship lead to Toprak Razgatlioglu for the first time in 2021 at Navarra last time out, Jonathan Rea is on the back foot compared to his Yamaha rival following day one at Magny-Cours. 

Rea topped a damp/drying FP1 session, however, a more representative FP2 showed that Razgatlioglu was the man with the pace. 

Rea was particularly struggling with braking late on corner entry and making the bike turn, something that’s normally one of his strong points. 

When reflecting on his opening day at Magny-Cours, Rea said: "Was tough, I felt like we were very consistent, but consistently slow. 

"I was just missing that ‘something’ to give me feedback to really enter the corner deep on the brakes and make the bike turn."

Rea’s team made several changes throughout the day in order to find the necessary gains that would put him on par with Razgatlioglu, however, the six-time world champion was unable to do so even after fitting the softer (faster) rear tyre.  

"There were some key areas on the track where I’ve been struggling," added Rea. 

"We tried some different items on the bike, we tried the rear tyres from Pirelli, but even the range of SC0 to SCX; lap times were the same and that’s not normal. 

"We need to sit down tonight because we know the speed is in me, it’s in the bike and we just need to unharness that. 

"Today was a difficult one, but there’s a lot of room for improvement."