News 5 Oct 2009

WSBK: Rea on front row for Magny-Cours races for Honda


Jonathan Rea will start from the front row for tomorrow’s two 13th round World Superbike championship races at Magny-Cours in France after setting the second fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole qualifying sessions.

It is the fourth consecutive front row start for the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland – the sixth of his rookie WSBK campaign. He and his team could have been forgiven for thinking his time of 1’38.191s – a new circuit best lap – might have earned him his maiden pole start, but America’s Ben Spies grabbed the top spot at the end of the third Superpole session.

Rea’s Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Carlos Checa, will start from the third row of the grid after struggling to put together a challenging lap in Superpole 2. The Spaniard, however, is confident that his race pace will allow him to challenge at the front for tomorrow’s two 23-lap encounters at the 4.41km Magny-Cours circuit.

Jonathan Rea – P2, 1’38.191s

I knew I had the pace today, but it’s not just me and Ben that are going to be battling it out tomorrow – it seems to be the same culprits up the front again. I wasn’t really sure I had set the pole time because I know just how fast these guys are. But the team is working really well together and the bike is really great. I feel very strong into the first turn and on to the back straight and our race pace is good, so we’ll see what happens in the races tomorrow.

Carlos Checa – P12, 1’38.924s

It has been quite a frustrating day because I have not been able to find where we have any particular problem. But I could not put a very good lap in Superpole, even with the qualifying tyre. The bike is not really bad in any one area, but it’s not really good in any one area. We’ll just have to sit down again tonight and see if we can find anything obvious that we can work on for warm-up tomorrow.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

There have been a few times this season when we thought that Jonathan might be on pole position, but it seems there might be a gentlemen’s agreement between the other riders that someone must really dig deep to take it away from him. Today it was Ben’s turn again, so congratulations to him. Joking aside, and more importantly, our race pace seems fully OK so I believe that both Jonathan and Carlos can be in the midst of what we expect to be a really exciting race battle tomorrow.

Ryuichi Kiyonari struggled in today’s free practice and qualifying sessions at Magny-Cours in France as he prepared for tomorrow’s two 23-lap 13th round World Superbike championship races.

The Japanese ace, who broke his collarbone at Magny-Cours during a test last year –damaged his right shoulder in a crash yesterday afternoon and required a series of pain-killing injections in order to ride today.

The Ten Kate Honda Racing rider battled bravely to qualify for today’s Superpole sessions but was unable to progress beyond the first stage, eventually qualifying in 17th place for a fifth row start.

Ryuichi Kiyonari – P17, 1’39.816s

It is very disappointing to have another shoulder injury here, especially because I was comfortable running in the top six yesterday morning. Hopefully, with a bit more treatment tonight, it will feel a little better tomorrow and we can try to find a little more pace during the warm-up. But, of course, I will try my best in the races, even though they will be very hard for me.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

We all feel very sorry for Kiyo-san, because he was definitely showing good pace at the beginning of the weekend. His injury is clearly stopping him from going as fast as he is able to. With some treatment from the Clinica Mobile tonight, he will hopefully be in a position to score some points in tomorrow’s races.