Rea back on the podium in Misano

Rea back on the podium in Misano

Jonathan Rea returned to the podium in the second of Sunday’s seventh-round eni FIM World Superbike championship races at Misano in Italy, finishing second after taking fifth place in the opener. Both races were won by Italian Max Biaggi.

The 4.226km Misano circuit was the venue for Rea’s debut World Superbike victory in 2009, and Sunday’s podium – the 27th for the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland – is his third in as many rounds, moving him into second place in the championship.

In significantly cooler temperatures than those he experienced during practice and qualifying, race one began well for Rea. Starting from second on the grid, he led from the opening lap until rear tyre issues dropped him from first place to fifth in just five laps.

However, track temperatures increased by almost 20 degrees between races, allowing Rea’s Honda World Superbike Team to use the first choice rear tyre for race two. He was shadowed for most of the race by fellow British rider, Leon Haslam, but Rea rode a controlled race to take 20 points at the flag.

His team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama finished just outside the points with 16th place in race one after experiencing similar tyre issues, but the 30-year-old Japanese rider bounced back to a points finish with 12th in race two.

Jonathan Rea – 5th and 2nd
The first race was quite strange and I was comfortable at the front in the first part, but then the tyre went off so quickly and dramatically and it was all I could do to bring it home in fifth. I had to ride a perfect race in the second outing because from about lap nine I had ‘+0, Haslam’ on my board and that went on for the whole race. In the beginning of that race I got stuck behind Tom [Sykes] and Giuliano was being quite aggressive, so I got out of my rhythm a bit. But I stayed calm and re-grouped and made a nice pass on Tom. I made no mistakes but Leon stayed very close so he gave me a lot of pressure. I rode the best last laps that I could and it’s good to finish second here after struggling in the last couple of years. Now summer has arrived, I’m happy that our bike is working on the softer ‘A’ tyre and my guys are working calmly in the box. To get back on the podium at a circuit where we struggled so much before is good. I& rsquo;m looking forward to going to Aragon now – it’s exciting, because it’s going to be a new circuit for me and I always enjoy that challenge.

Hiroshi Aoyama – 16th and 12th
It’s been another difficult weekend for me. In race one we struggled a bit and I got stuck with some slower riders. When I got past the gap to the next group was too big and the tyre started to lose a lot of grip. In the second race it was difficult to feel the bike, maybe because of the higher temperature. It was a hard race but we got some points in the end. It was not so bad but position-wise I’m not so happy. I’ll try to think about what can do to make it better for the next race in Aragon and I will do my best there.

Tyre choice was critical in deciding the winners at Misano

Tyre choice was critical in deciding the winners at Misano

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
Race one was actually quite disappointing. Because of the cooler conditions, we didn’t have the right tyre in the back and that was an issue for both riders. In race two the temperature was fortunately a lot hotter and we were able to use our original choice for the weekend. Jonathan had to get into a rhythm which allowed Biaggi to make a gap but he finished a strong second, holding off Haslam for most of the race. We’re second in the championship with Jonathan now, so, all-in-all, not bad. With Hiroshi, he finished 12th in race two, well in the points, which was a positive end to the day. We have a test at Assen next week with a few things up our sleeve to try and hopefully we can be in a stronger position at Aragon.

2012 World Superbike championship, round seven

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Italy – 4.226km, 24 laps

Race 1 results:
1 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia
2 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati
3 Davide Giuliano (ITA) Ducati
4 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki
5 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team
6 Chaz Davies (GBR) Aprilia
16 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team

Race 2 results:
1 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia
2 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team
3 Leon Haslam (GBR) BMW)
4 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW
5 Ayrton Badovini (ITA) BMW
6 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) BMW
12 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team

Championship points after seven of 14 rounds:
1 Biaggi 210.5, 2 Rea 172, 3 Sykes 164.5, 4 Melandri 155.5, 5 Checa 150.5, 6 Haslam 123.

Next round: Motorland Aragon, Spain – 29 June-1 July

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