Jonathan Rea in Aragon action today

Jonathan Rea in Aragon action today

Pata Honda World Superbike riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have made a step forward in the development of their Honda CBR1000RR race machines during today’s opening practice and qualifying sessions at Motorland Aragon in Spain.

The duo’s preparations for this weekend’s second round World Superbike event at the 5.344km circuit 280km west of Barcelona included an intense six days of testing – both at Aragon and at the Alcarras circuit, 100km to the north east – in order to further develop a new electronics system on their machines.

Rea finished this afternoon’s 45-minute qualifying in fifth place, 0.5s off provisional pole sitter Eugene Laverty. Haslam, meanwhile, was unable to capitalise on the additional grip of a softer rear Pirelli and ended the session in 11th place.

Both riders are more confident of further improvement in tomorrow’s second qualifying and free practice ahead of the afternoon’s Superpole sessions to determine the final grid positions for Sunday’s races.

Jonathan Rea in Aragon action

Jonathan Rea in Aragon action

Jonathan Rea

It’s clear that we’ve made some progress from last week’s Aragon test. Using the same tyre, I’ve been quite a bit quicker so going to Alcarras earlier this week for three more days, where we gained a lot of data and experience, was the right thing to do. We’re still working with base settings on engine braking so we’ll start working corner-by-corner tonight. There are some strong points now, and other areas that we need to work on. I feel like I’m being held back a bit by something, especially in third gear – it’s not wheelie control, so we’ll have to have a look at that tonight. It’s refreshing though, because we can start working on the chassis a little bit, now that the electronics are getting more consistent. I think we can make another step in the right direction there and come back stronger tomorrow.

Leon Haslam - Improvements for Pata Honda in Spain

Leon Haslam – Improvements for Pata Honda in Spain

Leon Haslam

This morning I felt pretty good – I did the whole session on the harder tyre and the bike was feeling a lot better than when we tested here last week. This afternoon we rolled out on the harder tyre again and it still felt pretty good, but when we put in the softer SC1 that the other guys were running we didn’t go any quicker. It made the bike react quite differently and made it feel like we had the old gremlins back. It’s not a big issue though, I think the guys now know how to resolve this problem and we’ll set the bike up for that specific tyre because we’re still getting a big difference in the electronics from tyre to tyre. As soon as we’ve got that sorted, we can do some more work on the chassis.

Pieter Breddels– technical co-ordinator

Jonathan managed fifth place today and we’re quite happy with that. We found that the progress we made in Alcarras is valid here, but the system still needs adjustment. The guys managed to make some quick adjustments and it’s still work in progress. For Leon there were a few more problems at the end and he ended up 11th. The change of tyre and grip level is affecting him quite a lot, so there’s a bit more work to do there. But we have another day tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens.

2013 World Superbike championship, round two – Motorland Aragon, Spain

First qualifying results

1 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1m58.548s

2 Chaz Davies (GBR) BMW 1m58.652s

3 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m58.887s

4 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1m58.944s

5 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Pata Honda 1m59.060s

6 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 1m59.144s

11 Leon Haslam (GBR) Pata Honda 1m59.599s


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