Jonathan Rea is back at the top of the Superbike timesheets. After two days in Misano, which coincided with a gradual recovery of confidence with the bike for the world champion, in these Barcelona tests Johnny raised the bar by demonstrating how well the Kawasaki goes also on a track that represents something new for SBK. This morning Rea fitted qualifying tyres and embarked on what was to all intents and purposes a Superpole session with Scott Redding and the Ducati Panigale V4, getting the better of his rival.
Scott told us that you used 5 qualifying tyres to set your time. Is that the case?
"No, this morning I used race tyres, soft tyres and two sets of qualifying tyres - the world champion told us - The aim of this test was to work on the pace and to see where I was, but still it was fun to see my performance over the one lap. "
Do you think Scott Redding could be your main rival this year? These days he has proven to be really fast…
“I haven't seen the times today and I wouldn't even be able to tell you the top 5, but Scott has certainly gone very well in these test days. He will be one of my opponents, but we must forget what happened at Phillip Island, now it is a new championship, and everyone can make the difference. Here we are only in Barcelona to test, we will see the situation in August after Jerez and Portimao".
Did Honda's absence on the track surprise you this morning? Apparently, they had a 4-hour call with Japanese engineers for details on the set-up.
"They must have a lot of problems if it took them 4 hours - said the Northern Irishman with a smile - We all used qualifying tyres this morning, it looked like a Superpole session and we all knew that those tyres would have worked better at that time. Maybe they preferred not to go out on the track because they only wanted to work in race conditions ".
In the afternoon, on the other hand, you concentrated on fine-tuning work and long runs. Are you satisfied with the work done?
"Yes, the team has done a lot today and playing a bit with the balance of the bike we confirmed some changes to the front that have given me more stability. I did two long runs with both bikes, which had different settings, to try out some things that Kawasaki asked us to evaluate. I didn't put on the soft tyres in the afternoon and I finished a little before 18:00 because my feelings were really good, now I can't wait to get to Jerez ".
Alex Lowes: "My pace is better with used tires"
On the other side of the Kawasaki garage, Alex Lowes, world championship leader and in fourth place in this two days of testing, also had a smile on his face. The British rider will try to bother Rea but it will not be easy given the condition shown today by the world champion. How did these test days go?
"It was a really positive and very full day - Alex told us - I used these two days to try out a lot of new things and to improve the bike".
What do you think of your pace with used tyres? Are you satisfied?
"A lot, my pace with used tyres is better than I have with new ones and I noticed that at Phillip Island as well. It's nice to see a lot of good and consistent times on the sheets but I have to try to improve also for the first 10 laps of the race ".
Are you feeling more competitive this year?
“Absolutely, I'm a year older and therefore I have more experience. I'm in a fantastic team and I'm having a lot of fun. I feel competitive in all conditions, even in this heat that will accompany us throughout the season. "