Johnny Rea tries to see the glass half full at the end of Tuesday’s tests at Phillip Island. Despite a fourth place, and a pace that was far from Bautista’s, the Cannibal still tries to be confident ahead of the weekend.
The Kawasaki rider mainly worked on his pace today, even if he fell, fortunately without consequences. His analysis at the end of the day is, as always clear and concise.
“I had better sensations today than yesterday,” Rea said. “There are still positive and negative aspects on the bike. Too bad I didn’t finish the race simulation, since I ended up falling, and that ruined my plans. Unfortunately, on a slow corner, I pushed harder than I should have and made a mistake. At the end of the day, I can say that I’m competitive even if, in some sectors, especially the third, I suffer a lot. In fact, I have to fight with the bike and force myself to be confident, since I’m not able to be natural.”
Johnny has expectations set for the race.
“Alvaro is at another level. He can race here and in Australia. But I’m convinced that we can fight for the podium, and we have to try. I think I have the pace I need, like Toprak, Rinaldi, Locatelli have, since we’re all quite close. Bautista is a step ahead of everyone.”
The rider from Northern Ireland was then asked how much Kawasaki has improved.
“We've worked a lot, and I think the bike has potential, even if, in the end, it’s the same story as last year. We need to take one step at a time and keep working.”
Rea’s crucial point is power.
“I’m pleased with where we are now compared to last year, since we’ve progressed. Electronics, acceleration are certainly better, as well as other things. In the end, the bike has a new homologation, but it’s basically the same as last year, since the changes are slight, without many major ones. But I need more power, a lot more power.”
The Cannibal was clear in his words, and they best expressed the situation he’s facing.
“There’s still too much of a difference with Bautista in acceleration and on the straights, where he can overtake five bikes. Unfortunately, we don’t have a magic wand, and we have to work one step at a time. Last year, I was always at the limit in every corner to then lose at the straight and in acceleration. Like I said, power is what I need, because the bike hasn’t been revolutionized.”
In all of this, Tom Sykes rejected the variable intake funnels.
“Don’t talk to me about Tom. I was with him for many years in Kawasaki, and if I’d say something was white, he’d say it was black. His opinion was always the opposite of mine.”
It’s best he thinks about the race weekend.
“I’m ready, I’m psyched, and I can’t wait to get started. I know I’m not starting as a favorite, so I don’t have that pressure I had in the past. I’m in a different position, and I accept that, but I know we can be competitive. Like I said, here in Phillip Island, we have the right cards to aim for the podium, and I hope to reach a victory in the upcoming races.”