Misano WorldSBK: Different tyre, same result for Rea

Picture: GeeBee Images

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea cannot help winning right now, and this week’s little piece of history is that he drew the relatively small Kawasaki Racing concern level with the mighty Honda in terms of WorldSBK race wins over the course of WorldSBK’s entire history.

Honda and Kawasaki currently have 119 wins each, with Ducati out front with 341. Yes, that many.

Rea’s Saturday win came from a holeshot start from second on the grid, heading up pole man Tom Sykes into the first chicane and never looking back.

Dull for the spectators as a viable competition, but it is impossible not to be impressed by how the whole Rea steamroller is so effective week-on week, even with fewer engine revs than almost all the others.

The three-time champion was in control for the whole 21-lap race with just one outside influence coming along near the end.

“The bike character changed quite a bit from three-quarter distance the end just entering the corners, especially 14 and the last corner,” Rea told bikespprtnews.com. “Just as soon as I started to release the brake the front was just popping up a little bit too much. Then I was unable to really finish the corner and had to scrub a lot more speed off with the brakes. Aside from that the bike was pretty perfect.”

It was hot on Saturday at Misano, nearly 30°C hot, but that had little effect on the Rea campaign.

“Even in the hot temperatures I felt really comfortable. The pace in Superpole with my race tyre was incredible. One of the laps I got knocked off because I was a few centimetres on the green section. To make a 1’34.2 with a race tyre is mad.

“So I knew in the race we could take a little bit of a step back and ride a little bit more clever. It is just a result of hard work and finding a good base of the bike now that we do not change too much.”

New tyres have come along recently, bigger/taller rears and then at Misano a wider front that was also taller, measuring 125/70. Rea made good use of each in race one.

“Together with Pirelli bringing these new tyres I feel my crew have really understood that, and reacted really well, reacted fast, so that we can find the rhythm in the weekend and be confident. Directly after a few sessions we had to set the bike up differently with the new front tyre profile.

“It was just not changing direction so fast or turning, but there is a lot more stability and linear feeling on the brakes. This seems to be the future so we need to change our bike a little bit. I am lucky that my guys understood that.”

Rea did not express surprise that nobody else has got near him recently - has really taken the fight to him. He confessed to problems with his arms at Donington holding back his progress, but he said his recent successes were down to the results of testing.

“In Imola, Brno – aside from race two – Laguna and here. It is all from the Brno test where we changed the bike,” said Rea. “Basically we made the bike a little bit longer and changed the balance of the bike quite a bit. Something we would not do in a race weekend. I just had more confidence the bike was a lot more quiet underneath me, less busy, and then I could really push the bike to make it do what I wanted it to do.

“I feel from there we have stepped up a little bit. Nothing revolutionary. I feel with the best crew and doing the right things, we should be there. So maybe it is not surprising that we are in front. I feel like I have one of the best bikes and one of the best crews, for example and I feel I am riding the best I have ever ridden.

“We have a lot less RPM than last year, but look at where the other Kawasakis are in the last races. It is me that is making he difference so that is something we can be really proud of as a team.”

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