Jerez WorldSBK: Rea finds feel and stability with seating change
Jonathan Rea had a theoretical month off since the previous round at Imola, where he made two breakthrough wins against the early season steam-roller of Alvaro Bautista and Ducati.
But in reality he joined most of his peers in a two-day WorldSBK test at Misano between 29 and 30 May, and then a two day Suzuka 8 Hour test in Japan just before arriving in Jerez, to finish third fastest on day one.
When asked if there had been significant mapping or engine characteristic changes to his WorldSBK bike at the Misano test, Rea stated, “It was only last week but I have been to Japan since then riding a completely different bike so I cannot remember what we tested so much…
“The first day I was rubbish because I had the flu and I did not start riding until the last hour or two. On day two we managed to start riding from lunchtime until the end of the day.
With a new riding position we got up to speed and some new tyre options for Pirelli, the balance of the bike, some different front suspension settings. And we had some positives from that.”
At the Misano outing the biggest improvement came from simply changing Rea’s riding position, with both his handlebar and footpeg positions being pulled backwards.
Feel and confidence were improved according to Rea, rather than any absolute performance benefit.
How far was it moved? “Enough,” said, Rea. “In racing terms it was a big change. I have a much better feeling from the front and also my handlebars have moved back as well.
Basically, I have just moved myself backwards on the bike. Now my hands are more in line with the front forks whereas before they were in front. I have a better understanding of the front, where the front is moving.
“Especially on full angle and the feed back from the front tyre is better. We tried this in Misano and we have some compensation, but to be honest the difference isn’t so big.
“I feel a little bit more rear traction and stability so it has not hugely transformed the balance of the bike too much, just my feeling and feedback because of where I am sitting.”