WorldSBK Donington: Rea under race record pace on Friday

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

Round five kicked off with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea at the top of the WorldSBK timesheets after hitting the ground running at Donington Park on Friday.

Dominant across both free practice sessions, the six-time champ was only beaten by Toprak Razgatlioglu in the final two minutes of the morning session before remaining firmly in ochre throughout the afternoon.

Rea’s 1’27.016 FP2 effort sat him half a second clear of his rivals and under the British circuit’s race lap record as he evaluated a raft of Pirelli tyre options ahead of Saturday’s qualifying and race action.

“You never expect such a big difference because half a second is a lot,” Rea said of his Friday success. “You can never just take a screenshot of the final lap times and understand all the stories. Everybody was on a different strategy today, trying to understand what’s what but we did good work and we were able to analyse all the tyre options - both front tyres and all the rears.

“Unlike Misano, where there were two extra solutions over the weekend, and it confused everything, I feel we have a handle on at least the tyres,” he continued. “In the morning I was really struggling with the front over the bumps, so we changed the weight balance of the bike, the wheelbase, and some different electronic settings. In the beginning of the second session I was able to understand quite quickly the pros and cons of the changes.

“We gained a lot of information today, now it’s about sitting down understanding what’s going to work for tomorrow.

“Just looking at the forecast, the temperatures are going to rise so maybe all that work would be in vain because when you have a ten degree difference on the asphalt it makes a big difference. The positive thing is that we have lot of info and today we were quite fast. So, it’s a good start to the weekend.”