TEN KATE HONDA:
Jonathan Rea was third fastest after today’s opening day of the pre-season World Superbike test at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimao in Portugal.
Fellow Briton, Leon Haslam, set the pace today, with Rea just a tenth behind. However, a crash near the end of the session left the Northern Irishman with a cut finger and bruised hands. He sat out all but the last 45 minutes of this afternoon’s 2h20m session.
“I wanted to end the day well,” said Rea, “and continue testing a rear shock. We used the same type of tyre all day and did my best time after about ten laps. This morning it was on my first lap, so we learned a lot.”
Rea’s new team-mate for 2010, Max Neukirchner, continued his familiarisation with his new bike and team. Still only his fifth day back on the team’s CBR1000RR Fireblade after missing most of last season, the German is looking forward to putting in even more laps over the next two days.
“I’m never happy at the end of the first day,” Neukirchner said. “It always takes me a while to get the feeling back – it was the same at our last test in Valencia. Today we tried some different things at the rear and did a lot of laps. We’ve got two more days here, so we’ll continue tomorrow and get that feeling again.”
In today’s World Supersport sessions, the Hannspree Ten Kate team’s new recruit, Michele Pirro, set the second fastest time. His team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu, meanwhile, decided to sit out this test in order to give his broken ankle further time to heal before the next pre-season test at Phillip Island in Australia in four weeks.