The first races of the season have undoubtedly toughened the spirits of Jonathan Rea, who is finally able to smile at Assen. Friday's first practice sessions have proved just how the layout of the Dutch track can help the current world champion, who closed second and ahead of Bautista (6th) in the combined standings.
“Battling with Bautista? It's possible but we still need to fully understand. Here there are many turns and a lot of acceleration - he explains - while there are few straights, so racing at Assen definitely helps us. The leading group might be a big one at this track, so I hope to have a really good package for the final stages of the race”.
To this end, Jonathan talks about the improvements, also the result of a change in technical direction.
"It's been a very positive day. We've changed the bike slightly and I felt greater agility, a lot of improvement through the long turns. It's been a step by step improvement, as during winter testing we worked hard on the bike's stability in braking, coming up with a bike that is more suited to a “stop and go” riding style with respect to the past. I've tried to modify my riding style in this sense. Seeing as we don't have the power, we need to focus on corner speed."
Tomorrow it's time for Superpole and above all Race 1, Rea still considering certain elements such as the tyres for instance.
"Considering the very low temperatures it will be important to understand the potential of both the SC0 and the SC1 with regard to the rear. We need to understand how each compound might deteriorate, and then we'll look at the set-up in light of qualifying and the race. We have several things to improve, but I'm feeling confident”.