Johnny Rea won the second race in Australia. No one could have imagined such a remarkable gap between the Cannibal's Kawasaki and Alvaro Bautista's Ducati. It might be true that Phillip Island is not one of the tracks that favors the qualities of the four-time world champion, but such a huge gap is one of those that makes you wonder. Despite the smile that transpires from his face, Rea's concern is evident.
"Dueling with Bautista's Ducati at Phillip Island was like ending up in a shootout, and, instead, having only a knife to defend yourself with," stated Johnny. "I'm sorry I didn't win, but I know I brought home the best result I could have hoped for." Obviously, we need to reflect on the gap, which is undoubtedly a considerable one, and, as a result, we have to work hard."
Everyone is wondering what the problem with Kawasaki is at this point.
"Seeing it on TV, it seems obvious that it's the engine, but there are no other solutions to make up for this shortcoming. Today, at the start, I was 30 meters away from Bautista, then I had to deal with the tires, again. Unfortunately, this is how you have to race at Phillip Island, since you risk not even reaching the finish line. Something, that among other things, happened to some riders."
At this point, what's the path to take?
"We just need to work and keep focusing on the bike. Kawasaki's strength has always been in its simplicity, and that's where we have to start from. The Phillip Island race proved to be frustrating for me, since I couldn't push as hard as I wanted to. Now, we just have to think about Buriram and stay focused."
In Race 2, we saw a heated neck-and-neck with Haslam. Did you think he'd be that strong?
"Of course, he's a stubborn opponent, but that's not a problem. I knew very well that it would have been difficult to keep up with him, since this is one of those tracks where he's always proved to be competitive. What matters is that, after the race, we have a good relationship. I'm happy because it's been a while that two Kawasakis have been up on the podium."
You mentioned Buriram, which will be the next race in less than three weeks.
"It's a stop and go track with a very long straight. I don't know what to expect. Maybe it'll end like here or maybe even worse."