Donington WorldSBK: Two podiums ‘not a huge disaster’ for Rea
A weekend featuring no WorldSBK wins for Jonathan Rea is a rarity, especially a weekend when you could have become the rider with the most wins ever in your own right, and you are racing in front of your home crowd.
But few people ahead of the weekend expected a double win from Michael van der Mark and Yamaha.
After VDM’s race one winning performance, Jonathan Rea knew that ‘Win 60’ and a new record would be difficult this weekend, because he thought Mikey was the man most likely to again on Sunday.
“Coming into the race the way Mikey was yesterday, the way his bike was behaving, I saw him again as the favourite,” Said Rea. “If you are talking about Toprak, yes he was a surprise. Incredible. I am one of his biggest fans and I know the potential he has. Albeit he beat me today but it was nice to see that he had that kind of pace.
“Hopefully he can join that fight every weekend. Certainly, at the end, he had the pace to go and win the race. From my side it was a difficult race.”
Rea was almost regretful on Saturday that he did not use the bigger (taller) tyre that VDM used so effectively, and he did go for that development option on Sunday. It made a difference but was still not the key to a race win.
“It was difficult to say about the tyre change today because it had positives and negatives,” said the five times race winner in 2018 already. “We tried it this morning in warm-up and made a compromise with the bike. It was more difficult with the balance of the bike because it is taller in the middle.
On the side, the bike is a little bit lower at angle. It is really hard to find the optimum set-up with it. With the time we had we made a good compromise for the race.”
Rea sees no trends in 2018, especially after such a weekend as this one, so had no reason why Kawasaki’s straight run of ten wins at Donington came to end this weekend.
“This year has been a year of surprises,” said Rea. “I have been as strong, if not stronger then the Ducatis in Aragon and Imola, where we have been really weak in the past. They were much stronger in Phillip Island and in Thailand.
“OK, in Phillip Island they have been strong but in Thailand they were never strong. This year they were. I do not think you can use trends in the past years with new regulation every season. Of course from my side I feel like we did a strong weekend here. We just cannot take anything away from Mikey. He and Yamaha did a better race today. It is not like it has been a huge disaster.”
Far from it for Rea, who is now 64 points ahead in the championship over Chaz Davies, when Rea and his team had targeted being 50 points ahead by now.
‘Win 60’ may come very soon and given how he did not win a race at Donington, it has spurred him on for wins next time out in the Czech Republic, a track he had tested well at recently. “I don’t know about Kawasaki but I am going to Brno for 50 points. Nothing less. We had a very good test.”