A different round, the same question. Jonathan Rea arrived in Aragon well aware of his own situation and that of the championship, and the first practices have told a predictable story. In the combined standings, the world champion lies third, but what stands out is the fact that he's half a second from leader Bautista.
“I don't want to belittle the work Bautista's doing - he begins - because he's riding well and getting the best out of the package, but it's clear that he has a great bike that is hard to beat. It's difficult to talk about rivalry because he's a long way away from me, it was impossible to fight in Thailand. In any case, I want to focus on my own work, my team is working hard to understand and improve”.
A wet race could prove useful to Johnny, but the Northern Irish rider is clear about one thing.
“Alvaro is a strong rider and it won't take him long to adapt to different conditions, despite his inexperience. I would have an advantage in terms of experience, sure, but I would prefer a dry race, mainly for the fans. The important thing is the gap with which we finished the last races, we need to understand many things and move closer. A wet race wouldn't help us with that”.
We should not forget Chaz Davies, his difficulties coming as a surprise to Rea too.
“That's perhaps the strangest thing. Chaz is a strong rider and surely has the same material as his team-mate, but it seems that Alvaro is doing a great job that Davies is unable to replicate. He should be in front, but I can't speak for him, it's definitely surprising to see this situation.
Johnny also speaks about his own situation.
“This morning I really struggled with issues regarding both the bike and my riding style, but come the afternoon we made the right changes and the situation picked up straight away. We decided to make only small changes, considering the time we had, with only two sessions on Friday.”
Another hot topic this weekend is the tyres, particularly the new ones brought by Pirelli.
“Pirelli has brought some new tyres, both front and rear, for us to test. At the front, I preferred the "C" option, it felt more familiar, while at the rear I'm undecided between the SC0 and the “B” option, they have different pros and cons."