Last to fourth charge took ‘mental, physical’ toll on Rea

Jonathan Rea closes the gap to Alvaro Bautista in the overall standings but says he wants to move on from a tough weekend on and off the track.
Last to fourth charge took ‘mental, physical’ toll on Rea

Jonathan Rea says his charge from the back of the grid to fourth position in the short Superpole Race in Jerez took its toll on him mentally and physically as he tempered his mood despite closing the gap to Alvaro Bautista in the title race.

A weekend fraught with ups and downs for the four-time WorldSBK champion, Rea began his Sunday having to fight from the back of the grid in the Superpole Race as punishment for causing Alex Lowes’ crash at the final corner in race one.

With only 10 laps to claw back ground on the opposition, Rea made swift progress to climb to tenth by the end of the first lap, before picking his way to a peak of fourth by lap six where he’d remain to the chequered flag.

Faring better in race two from the second row, Rea found himself in the fight for the lead when rival Bautista crashed out on lap two, the Ulsterman spending much of the race tussling it out with Michael van der Mark.

However, on a weekend that has seen the Yamaha unusually match the pace of the Kawasaki, Rea couldn’t hold onto the Dutchman as he settled for second.

Ironically closing the gap to Bautista in the standings, despite proving comfortably adrift of the Spaniard in terms of race pace, Rea took minimal pleasure out of an otherwise tough weekend.

“In the final race I did not have the pace of Mikey,” he said. “I need to check the times, but we definitely made a step with the bike set-up from yesterday afternoon to today, especially with the front end feeling in the faster corners.

“But over the lap there were some areas where I was very close, or even better than Michael, but in one crucial area I just lost too much.

“It is something we have been working on all weekend and today the bike was better. I needed a clean day today to finish both races strongly.

“This morning’s race took a lot out of me mentally and physically - coming from the back of the grid to try and make up all those positions in a short space of time. I am looking forward to Misano now.”

Despite the indifferent results, Rea has trimmed the erstwhile 43 point gap to 41 points heading to Round 7 at Misano in two weeks’ time.