Jonathan Rea (65) in race action at Phillip Island

Jonathan Rea (65) in race action at Phillip Island

Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have left Phillip Island in Australia with a solid points haul following today’s opening round of the 2013 World Superbike championship. The two races were won by Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty.

In warm and dry conditions, the new Pata Honda duo fought tyre degradation and electronics issues around the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit to bring their CBR1000RR Fireblades home for four points finishes.

In race one, Haslam had a good start from the third row of the grid and was battling for a podium finish for 18 laps before tyre problems dropped him back to seventh at the flag. After a slower start to race two, the 29-year-old British rider got caught in a first lap melée at turn 10 when two other riders crashed. He dropped back several places, losing touch with the leading group and eventually finishing 10th.

Jonathan Rea finished eighth in both today’s 22-lap outings, the second being his 100th World Superbike race start. The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland scored a total of 16 points, despite issues with electronics and tyres and leaves Phillip Island tied for sixth place in the overall SBK points standings.

Jonathan Rea – race one 8th; race two 8th

It’s been a strange weekend, and it’s frustrating for us all to look at the classifications and see where we are because I don’t feel that it’s a true reflection of where we deserve to be. On the other side of that, it’s clear how much effort we’re going to have to put in to make the electronics better. It’s our main problem right now because back at the team’s workshop we found a little bit of power for the engine for this event and I know there’s another plan to develop that. It’s clear we need to make a couple of steps forward and bypass where we were the electronics last year. I feel there’s a light at the end of the tunnel though because I’ve already got some positive feelings with the new system. There are just a few inconsistencies when getting on the throttle with the traction control cutting in and holding back the engine. We made some positive steps with the bike between race one and two, and we’ve got a three-day test at Aragon, which we really need. Two finishes is always the aim for the first race, but we leave here still with work to do.

Leon Haslam (91)

Leon Haslam (91)

Leon Haslam – race one 7th; race two 10th

It’s been a bit of a disappointing day. We had some issues that we couldn’t overcome in race one and I ended up heading backwards. It felt like I had the pace to challenge for a rostrum but I was held back in a couple of areas. In race two we made some positive changes but I had a bad start and then got caught in the melée with two other riders crashing out down at the MG hairpin on lap one. I lost around 10 or 11 seconds that would have allowed me to battle for third or fourth again if I hadn’t lost that time. There are a lot of ‘if’s and ‘but’s, and we’ve got a lot of work to do in this next month to try to resolve a few issues.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinaor

We learned a lot today. We also learned that we have some more work to close the gap to our competitors and I’m happy that we’re going testing next. Leon had a tremendous start to race one and he was battling at the front for a podium. Unfortunately some set-up problems pulled him back a little. Jonathan didn’t have such a good tyre in race one and it was spinning up quite a lot earlier than Leon’s, so he wasn’t able to battle for anything. Leon didn’t have such a good start to race two and got caught in a bit of hassle, which meant he had to start again from the back. He was pushing forward but some problems with the bike meant he couldn’t do consistent lap times. Jonathan had a good start to race two and the bike and tyre worked better, but not better enough. We’ll learn from the data and make a good test plan for Aragon to overcome these problems.


2013 World Superbike championship, round 1

Phillip Island, Australia – 4.445km, 22 laps

Race 1 results:

1 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia

2 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia

3 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia

4 Chaz Davies (GBR) BMW

5 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki

6 Loris Baz (FRA) Kawasaki

7 Leon Haslam (GBR) Pata Honda

8 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Pata Honda

Race 2 results:

1 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia

2 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia

3 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW

4 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia

5 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki

6 Davide Guigliano (ITA) Aprilia

7 Jules Cluzel (FRA) Suzuki

8 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Pata Honda

9 Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki

10 Leon Haslam (GBR) Pata Honda

Championship points after 1 of 14 rounds:

1 Laverty 45, 2 Guintoli 45, 3 Fabrizio 29, 4 Sykes 22, 5 Melandri 16, 6 Rea 16, 7 Haslam 15.

Next round: Aragon, Spain – 12-14 April

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