After winning both Sunday WorldSBK races on a useable track surface, Jonathan Rea took his all time victory tally to 85.
The now five-time champion was the centre of much controversy over the weekend, feeling obliged to race for multiple reasons on Saturday, which went down badly with the six who did not.
“It has been tough because too many words have been said already and I do not want to join the party and get involved too much in what is going on,” Rea told bikesportnews.com after race two.
What is clear that we arrived here in difficult circumstances, with not a lot of track activity, it was not rubbered-in. That, combined with the high temperatures was really difficult to manage. What happened yesterday was a complete farce.
“It was tough because I was involved in a meeting. Stupidly I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn’t want to be involved in this chaos. I walked outside my cabin and there was everyone congregated in a cabin.
“I think nosiness took me over there to sniff out what was happening. We were here to race. I respect the decisions of the guys that didn’t want to go out there, but trying to enforce that on me as World Champion, and I should have the same opinion, was tough.
“I didn’t agree with the parade in the pitlane to make a statement, with no leathers. I was really happy that I was able to complete three races here because the track conditions were the track conditions and we need to learn from this, because it should not happen - and it has happened.
“Everyone has done their best, the investment from the government from last year, to resurface the track with all the asphalt coming apart last year has been great.
“The track surface is smooth, it is wide, the runoff areas are adequate but we definitely need to learn from this. I hope we can find good conditions at every track we go to now because this weekend has been tough and has divided too many opinions.
“What we need to realise I that everybody has an opinion. Whether you are sat at home watching TV, or a journalist or a rider, but everybody’s opinion is different. Everyone is entitled to their own. But what happened yesterday was… I dunno.”
Rea agreed that it was not good for the championship in any way, and that played a part in his final views and actions.
“I knew this, that’s why I did not want to be a part of the joining of forces and making a statement. I could see it as a whole. There is a lot of pressure. Chaz and Eugene called me out because I am world champion and I should have their opinion, and I should stand together with them.
The conditions for me were not perfect by any means but we are here to race and out of the riders that started everyone finished. It was about managing myself and my bike to finish. I completely understand everybody’s point of view, so I do not want to throw any bad comments at anybody. But we need to learn from this.”
The track conditions did improve over the weekend and enough – on the racing line only – to allow the top riders to smash all the previous season’s best times. Rea even set the track best in the sprint race, not Superpole.
“I think the cooler temperatures have helped,” said Rea about why Sunday was faster, as it was ten degrees cooler than the opening two days. “The actual surface was cleaning, a cleaning line was happening already – while it was small - on Friday afternoon, but by the afternoon the temperature was really high.
“There was not a lot of feedback out there. I do not exactly know why but I feel it is a combination of the temperature and also being rubbered-in. Even in Race Two, with ten or 12 degrees more than the Superpole race was slower of course, but acceptable and much better than yesterday.
“I do not know if that ten degree difference between Race Two today and race one yesterday was just down to temperature or the track getting rubbered in. The Superpole race was fast, 1’37.4, that is fast.”