News 24 Aug 2011

Rea confident following Assen test with Castrol Honda team

Castrol Honda's Jonathan Rea returned to testing with Castrol Honda at Assen this week.

Castrol Honda's Jonathan Rea returned to testing with Castrol Honda at Assen this week.

The Castrol Honda World Superbike team has completed a two-day test at Assen in the Netherlands with three riders on its Honda CBR1000RR machines.

With fine weather yesterday, Jonathan Rea was able to ride for the first time since breaking his arm and wrist in a warm-up crash at Misano in Italy in June.

The 24-year-old Northern Irishman was able to give his injuries a thorough work out and he declared himself happy with the results.

“We didn’t get to test very much today because of the weather, which restricted us to a patchy track this morning before it got wet again,” Rea said. “But even those laps were useful to find a good wet setting which we have lacked this season.

“Yesterday was really good, though, and I was so happy to get back on the bike again. The lap time was quite okay, which was a good confidence booster, and my wrist felt strong.

“My body certainly knows I’ve done a lot of riding, so I’ll concentrate on some conditioning work over the next week or two. But I’ve really enjoyed riding again and now I can’t wait for Nurburgring, which is somewhere I’ve had some success in the past.”

Rea was joined at Assen by Castrol Honda team-mate, Ruben Xaus, who is still recovering from back injuries sustained in a race one crash at Brno in the Czech Republic last month.

The 32-year-old Spaniard was still suffering some discomfort from his back and was only able to ride in short bursts. With rain at Assen today, Xaus opted to sit out day two of the test.

“It was good to ride again, and my speed and lap times yesterday were not bad considering that I was really only able to ride at 80 percent,” Rea said. “However, I could only do a few laps before my back became too uncomfortable to ride any more.

“I decided it would be too much to ride today as well and I don’t think I would have learned any more because it was too wet. My injuries have improved but there is still some more improvement to find.”

Also testing with the Castrol Honda team was Alex Lowes, who replaced the injured Rea both at Brno and the last World Superbike round at Silverstone in the UK at the end of July.

The 20-year-old from Lincoln rode both days at Assen, completing many laps and testing new settings on the Castrol Honda Fireblade.

“To be honest, I was a little down when I left Silverstone because we struggled to find a setting there and the weekend ended in a crash,” Lowes said. “I went out at Assen yesterday and we made a couple changes, which gave me a really good feeling again.

“I was immediately able to lap quite close to the times I set here when I tested after Brno. We did some more work in the wet as well today and I really feel comfortable on the bike now.”

The team now makes the short trip back to its Netherlands base to prepare for round ten of the 2011 World Superbike championship at Nurburgring in Germany over the weekend of 2-4 September.