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SBK, Rea: "I'm not in the same situation as Marc Marquez, but I understand him."

"The start with Yamaha was difficult, but I don't know if having my old chief technician by my side would have been an advantage. Maybe in terms of communication, but not in terms of understanding the bike."

SBK: Rea:

The Yamaha adventure has not started in the best of ways for Jonathan Rea, who after the first six championship rounds boasts a meager haul of just eight points. Lifting the Cannibal's morale and season fortunes, however, could be the "Cathedral of Speed" in Assen, site of the third round of the World Superbike season. The perfect place for Rea to shake up his 2024, considering that the six-time world champion has already managed to set his seal 17 times on the historic Dutch track. The characteristics of which should enhance the R1's smooth ride.

"I feel exactly as you would expect: that of Assen is a track I am familiar with, where I have good feelings and where I know what it takes to be fast, but I will obviously have to understand the Yamaha R1 and its potential here. Although everything indicates that we should have a solid weekend," noted the Northern Irishman on the eve of the Dutch Round.

A weekend that could be providential in light of the difficulties encountered at the beginning of the year."If we analyze the start of the championship, we've been very unlucky with the rhythms of the calendar, because there are large breaks between races and it feels like we're in the middle season, but we only faced two race weekends, where tires played a very important role ," said the Yamaha rider. " At Phillip Island, we had a forced tire choice and pit stop in flag-to-flag races, while Barcelona is a track where we could not exploit the full potential of the R1, having to preserve tires. Assen is a more conventional track and it would benefit me greatly to be able to ride in the dry tomorrow, because it is always very complex to ride on a circuit with a new bike, doing it for the first time in the wet. The weather forecast is not very favorable, but the situation is the same for everyone. Tomorrow will be a key day to find the right feeling and build confidence."

While not as successful as hoped, the Rounds in Australia and Catalunya were still a good training ground for Rea's learning and adaptation with the Yamaha.

"It's hard to say exactly what I learned because there are different things, however it was a matter of familiarizing myself with a different team and understanding how they work. It takes time and I really believe that there are very good and intelligent people in Yamaha, but it is very difficult for them to understand the way I work and in the previous races I spent quite a bit of time inside the pit box trying to clearly explain my feelings to them. It's something new for me as well, " Rea confessed , "It's a gradual process and I think this is coupled with some problems and some challenges we've had to face, like the crashes at Phillip Island, which made it difficult to be able to put it all together, but I think we'll get there.

After so many years with Pere Riba, working with Andrew Pitt was a big change for the 37-year-old, but he doesn't see much difference between the two chief technicians.

"Honestly, they are much more similar than you might imagine ," he said, "They are both extremely perceptive and it's hard to compliment just one of them, but I would say Andrew has an incredible work ethic. He's always busy, he's very competitive and pushes the whole team to do their best and improve. But Pere used to do the same thing. The big difference is that I worked with the latter for nine years so sometimes I didn't even need to talk. If we look at the rider market, Toprak for example, changed teams with his chief technician and chief mechanic, but so they all have to get to know a new bike. So, I don't know if having Pere by my side would have been an advantage. Maybe it would have been from a communication point of view, but not in understanding the R1. Everything has its pros and cons, and I have a good relationship with Andrew, I trust him, and also Yamaha. It was just a difficult start. We have to have faith, keep our heads up, and hope to get back to normal here."

It isa situation reminiscent of the one Marc Marquez is experiencing at Gresini, where he began working with Frankie Carchedi after several seasons under Santi Hernandez.

"These are very different situations, because Marc left Honda for a Ducati, but I can understand it from a personal point of view, " Jonathan commented, " There are times when I hope I just need a good result, but I know my team needs it too, because it's been two really tough rounds.


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