Rea Conquers Difficult Conditions For Second Place
Jonathan Rea finished second in today’s first WorldSBK race of the 2023 season at Phillip Island.
From the second row of the grid, Rea made a good start in the wet conditions and led after one lap, with eventual race winner Alvaro Bautista and Rea’s own team-mate Alex Lowes in second and third place respectively.
Bautista would pass Rea on lap ten, and despite his constant push Jonathan could not re-pass and he finished in second place. Rea was well clear of eventual third place rider Toprak Razgatlioglu, and collected a significant haul of points at the first time of asking in 2023.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I was nervous for the WorldSSP riders who raced before us and I started getting anxious even before our race started, just watching them. A big shout out to John McPhee in WorldSSP (who took his Kawasaki to a podium finish in his first ever WorldSSP race). I was yipping it up in the garage when he was racing. So I went to see him in Parc Ferme after his race, and ask how the conditions were in the full wet. I was pretty convinced to make a full wet set-up for Race One. I made a great start and I felt good. In the wet conditions, I felt good straight away. I just put my head down then ran into a few issues with my quick shifter. I had to re-learn how to ride the bike again without it. When Alvaro Bautista came past me I could see that he was better than me in some areas, but I was better in some others. I was trying to learn and adapt to not having a quick shifter. It was difficult, especially off the gas while on the edge of the tyre, with negative torque from the engine. It was so easy to be at full angle and lose the rear. The harder I pushed the more issues I had, but the problem is that when you see Alvaro going away, and the gap coming down to Toprak behind, you are trying, and trying so hard. So it was a nervous race and the conditions were not as grippy as they were in the November WorldSBK round. The pre-race target was a podium and we got that, and took a bag full of points. On the grid I felt the race could have been for us, but not today.”