Drier conditions at Magny Cours

Drier conditions at Magny Cours

Honda World Superbike Team rider Jonathan Rea finished second in today’s thrilling finale to the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours in France.

The last race of the season, upon which the destination of the title depended, was won by British rider Tom Sykes, but it was Italian Max Biaggi who took the championship spoils, finishing in fifth position and taking the series victory by half a point.

In wet conditions, Rea began race one from sixth place on the grid but a great start and a good set-up for his Honda CBR1000RR allowed the 25-year-old to move to the front and open a 10-second lead.

However, on lap 12, he was caught out by the conditions and crashed out, limping back to the pits for some repairs to his machine. Rea eventually re-joined the race to take three championship points at the flag.

Another good start to race two placed Rea fourth before he made a steady move forward, passing Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli to take his sixth podium of the season and consolidate fifth place in the final standings.

Hiroshi Aoyama and his team

Hiroshi Aoyama and his team

Rea’s team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama was unable to complete his last outing for the Honda World Superbike Team in the way he wanted. The Japanese rider suffered serious grip problems in race one and, despite pitting to make adjustments, was unable to complete the race. Aoyama suffered similar issues in race two but, determined to finish the race, brought his CBR home in 14th place.

Despite Magny-Cours being the last event of the 2012 season, the Honda World Superbike Team still has work to do before the year end. New rider, Leon Haslam, will have his first shakedown test on the CBR1000RR Fireblade at Assen, Netherlands on Wednesday, before a comprehensive pre-season testing and development programme begins at Aragon in Spain next month.

Jonathan Rea – 13th and 2nd

I needed some wings in race one when I got caught out by the conditions but it was frustrating because my team gave me a great bike for the wet. Everything was feeling good but I felt a bit like an amateur when I was in the gravel. At the beginning of race two I was a bit wary of the conditions and although I was able to get to the front, Tom (Sykes) didn’t make any mistakes. I’m really happy to be part of this championship and congratulations to Max on a great job. At the end of a long season I want to thank the team for their continued hard work. On certain days we’ve struggled but, on others we’ve capitalised on the strengths of the bike through the great work ethic we have as a team. We’ll go away this winter and I’ll make sure I’m in the best condition possible for the 2013 season; I’m sure the team will do the same with the CBR.

Hiroshi Aoyama – DNF and 14th

This was my last weekend with the team and I wanted to make two good races. Unfortunately, I had some problems with the bike and the tyres, similar to the problems I’ve had all year. The guys have worked hard to solve the problems and we’ve tried a lot of things. It’s a pity that nothing really worked because it was a new challenge for me to come to Superbike and I was expecting a lot more. But it’s been a good experience for me with this Honda team so I want to say thank you to the guys and the sponsors who have supported us.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

Race one was wet and Jonathan was having an awesome race and moving away from the pack after a bit of a battle. He had a 10-second lead and was much faster than anyone when he crashed after a small mistake. That was a disappointment for everyone, with Hiroshi struggling and coming into the pits. Race two was not much better and it hasn’t really worked this season. We wish him all the best for the rest of his career. Race two was actually quite exciting for the championship. Jonathan had another good start and finished a strong second and we’re happy with that. It’s a good way to finish the season. There’s a lot of effort and resource being prepared for a development and testing programme so we can be back strong next year when we’ll try again to win this exciting championship.

2012 World Superbike championship, final round
Magny-Cours, France – 4.411km, 23 laps
Race 1 results:
1 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati
2 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW
3 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki
4 Maxime Berger (FRA) Ducati
5 Leon Haslam (GBR) BMW
6 Ayrton Badovini (ITA) BMW
13 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team
DNF Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team
Race 2 results:
1 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki
2 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team
3 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati
4 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia
5 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia
6 Davide Giugliano (ITA) Ducati
14 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team
Final championship points:
1 Biaggi 358, 2 Sykes 357.5, 3 Melandri 328.5, 4 Checa 287.5, 5 Rea 278.5, 6 Laverty 263.5

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