SECOND ROW START FOR REA AT PHILIP ISLAND

Rea's crew repair damage to his CBR1000RR after this morning's crash at MG

Rea's crew repair damage to his CBR1000RR after this morning's crash at MG

Honda World Superbike rider, Jonathan Rea, will start tomorrow’s two first round World Superbike championship races at Phillip Island in Australia from the second row of the grid after today’s qualifying practice.

Following a fatal incident in an earlier national race, this afternoon’s Superpole session was cancelled, leaving Rea in eighth place based on his combined qualifying times. His team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, will start the two 22-lap races from the fourth row while British rider Tom Sykes took pole position.

Rea lost time in this morning’s second qualifying practice following a crash at Phillip Island’s turn 10 and was unable to better his provisional pole position time from yesterday. However, he and his crew found a better race set-up in the subsequent free practice session and were confident of an improved qualifying position.

Aoyama missed out on a Superpole debut in his first World Superbike championship meeting but will start from 16th place on the grid after British rider, Chaz Davies, withdrew following a wrist injury.

On behalf of the extended Honda family, everyone in the Honda World Superbike Team wishes to pass their condolences to the family and friends of 17-year-old Oscar McIntyre, who lost his life in this afternoon’s crash at Phillip Island.


Jonathan Rea – P8, 1m31.959s

Yeah, today was a bit of a weird situation without having a Superpole, so we were just sitting and waiting to go out. I didn’t know at the time but afterwards I got told that a young rider in the Aussie 600 class, Oscar McIntyre, lost his life. So, before I talk about my day, I want to send my thoughts and regards to his family and friends. On my side of the box, everything’s been going OK. We had a slip off this morning at MG and lost a bit of time which put us in a bad rhythm in Qualifying 2. But in free practice we got the rhythm again, did another long run on a tyre which worked OK. I was quite happy with the pace we had on it and basically I think I’m ready for the race. It’s going to be a big task to win tomorrow, but our goal is still to be on the podium, and it has been since we got here. The guys have given me a good bike to ride and we’ve been concentrating on getting it to lap 22 in good shape. We’ll see tomorrow and I’m as excited as anyone to see the result.


Hiroshi Aoyama – P16, 1m32.576s

We were expecting a little bit more progress today but had some problems with braking and corner exit, especially at the last corner and turn 11. It seems that we couldn’t improve so much, and although in qualifying we improved the lap time a little, it was not enough. Position 17 is not ideal for us but we’ll see tomorrow, when I hope the feeling with the bike will change a little bit and let me push more on the corner exit. This afternoon the ground temperature went to 55 or 60 degrees, which made things worse for our programme and it wasn’t easy to ride in those conditions. It’s possible tomorrow will be even hotter than today, so we will have to consider this, too. It’s going to be the first time for me with two Superbike races in one day so I want to see what it is like and try my best. [Added later]: I also want to send my best wishes to the family of the rider who died today.

 

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

Firstly, and most importantly, we would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the family of Oscar McIntyre, who died in this afternoon’s crash – it naturally casts a big shadow over the whole weekend. Jonathan seemed to be gelling better with the machine this afternoon and the aim for Superpole would have been a front row start, which helps around here. In the last free practice we did a proper race run and we’ve found a very clear direction to go. With Hiroshi, we’re chipping away at the lap time but unfortunately it’s not coming in big steps. Every time he goes out there he improves and gets closer to the front guys. Hopefully he can take tomorrow’s experience of two races under his belt into the next round at Imola and be in a higher position.

 

2012 World Superbike championship – round one, Phillip Island, Australia

Final qualifying results:

1 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m31.323s

2 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1m31.477s

3 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 1m31.621s

4 Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati 1m31.783s

5 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati 1m31.832s

6 Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki 1m31.904s

7 Nicola Canepa (ITA) Ducati 1m.31.953s

8 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team 1m31.959s

16 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team 1m32.576s

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