Rea Third Fastest On Opening Day In Portugal
Jonathan Rea ended his first day of practice at the Portuguese round of the FIM Superbike World Championship in third place, as the on-track action restarts just a few days after the previous round was completed in Spain.
On his Ninja ZX-10RR machine Rea made the first important steps to find an optimum set-up for the first race on Saturday 8 August, and evaluate the track conditions at a circuit with many more track elevation changes than the previous venue of Jerez. Ambient weather conditions were much kinder than they were last weekend, with FP2 today held in 27°C and with a track temperature of 44°C.
Rea was faster in the afternoon session, recording his Friday best lap of 1’42.543 with the 4.592km circuit in Portimao starting to offer more grip with so much track action having taken place today in warm conditions.
Saturday 8 August will see race one, over 20 laps, held at 14.00 (GMT +1). A 10-lap Tissot-Superpole ‘sprint’, followed by the final 20-lap race two, will complete the Portuguese weekend on Sunday 9 August.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Today has been interesting because there is a lot less grip on the track than there was last season when we were able to be super fast from the early laps. This race weekend it took a little bit of time for the track to get some rubber down and we were able to go faster in the afternoon, even with hotter temperatures. That means that the track is getting better and better. We have been understanding the tyre options that are available to us. I made a longer run in the second session to understand how the bike is behaving and to set-up the electronics a little bit better for the end of the race. We have our front tyre choice all set for tomorrow and there is still a question mark over which rear tyre to use. We have some more time in the morning to understand. But the bike is working well over race distance already and I am feeling a lot better than I did at Jerez. The bike is ‘talking’ to me a little bit more and I understand what is happening when the grip drops. It has been pretty positive.”