After the splendid weekend in Aragon, Jonathan Rea is ready to give his fans an encore... once more in Aragon. For the first time in its history, the SBK will race twice on the same track consecutively. And, what might have seemed like a disadvantage for the five-time world champion - given the affinity that exists between the Motorland track and Ducati, his opponent - revealed itself to be a decisive deal breaker for the world championship, since Jonathan's Kawasaki proved to be at least equal to the V4 R... the rider then did the rest.
"It was warmer than last Sunday," Rea told us. "There was about 12 degrees more on the asphalt, so the times were a bit slower and also the sensations on the bike were different. In the morning, I tried some new shields while, in the afternoon, we did a race simulation in hot conditions. I also tried a slightly softer fork spring adjustment but it didn't bring me any significant benefits."
Jonathan, Superpole tomorrow and then Race 1, obviously the points will be scored in the race, but how important will qualifying be for your weekend?
"I'll have to make a good effort in the Superpole tomorrow because the starting position is all there and, with my pace, I know that if I start from the first position, I can dictate the race pace. Let's say that qualifying will be the key to my weekend. I did a simulation, and I felt good on the bike. The tire wear was good and we'll see how the bike behaves, which is pretty much the same as last week in these hot conditions. We'll see what happens on Sunday too. You never know, even if I think I'm prepared."
How is your pace in these conditions? The tire wear didn't seem like a problem for you this past weekend. Will it be with higher temperatures?
"In the past, I was never so fast in these temperatures, especially with regard to tire wear, but today and last week, comparing my pace with that of the other riders, I noticed that I was doing better at the end of the race, and this is really positive also because we're seeing it on a track like this one."
Rinaldi is in first position today, with a private Ducati, and many other riders are showing that they can have their say even in the higher positions of the standings. How do you rate these performances for the championship?
"Rinaldi is doing something incredible. He's been really fast in the last few races. He works well with Ducati and is bringing that bike to the top positions. This is good for the championship. Having a lot of riders battling it out is good. Alvaro was also strong last week. We'll see. It's still early for the championship. We're only halfway through."
Photo: courtesy Prosecco DOC