Rea of sunshine
But it was really nice to see Jonathan Rea qualify on pole at Mondello. I watched his style at every corner and he looked great. He obviously didn't go fastest by setting a one-off mad lap; he just looked dead cool and relaxed. It was encouraging to see that a youngster with the right talent and a good head could get on a 200bhp, 200mph bike and do the business.
The impressive thing was that when anyone got close to his time he reacted, went out and ultimately took pole. Unfortunately, he got taken out in race one with Michael Rutter, in a racing incident, and had a bit of a run around in race two. That was just because he was race rusty, and I have no hesitation in saying that he really could make the grade. At Croft he qualified third and he needs to keep a positive head on, even if things go wrong. If he does, he's going to go well.
The Red Bull Rookie structure needs a big pat on the back for bringing kids on. They start them on 125s, then put them on 600s and then they end up in Superbikes, like Jonathan did. So it's nice to see that we have a system that is beginning to work. When they can get someone to qualify on pole then it proves it works. Quite often a lot of these schemes start off with good intentions then they have nowhere to go. Obviously not this one.
Maybe it's that the foreign riders have to win races to advance their careers. The only good they are going to do themselves is not by being here, but by winning here. Nothing else is good enough, because they would otherwise disappear. But now Lavilla is winning the interest in Spain is greater again, which can only help his career. These guys also seem to be able to ride closer to the limit, yet still have some degree of safety margin. Of all the riders in the championship, it seems that Kiyonari and Lavilla have the biggest plans to move on, or to move back to where they came from in global racing. They are desperately hungry riders and seem to get it right virtually every weekend.
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