Jerez WorldSBK test: Best HRC tester Bradl ‘a nice bonus’ for Rea

11/19/2020 |

Image: GeeBee Images

Jonathan Rea (KRT WorldSBK) said the only motivation for beating MotoGP times wasn’t the main thing for him in Jerez, despite being faster than HRC test team rider Stefan Bradl and his prototype Honda MotoGP in Jerez.

“Not at all to be honest,” he said, stating that it was just the fact that his best time was finally faster after the Q tires were let go.

“I felt we had achieved our goals, but they suggested we do a time attack at the end. I didn’t think about Bradl at all; I thought about setting a good lap time for myself. But when I saw faster than a MotoGP bike again; That was a nice bonus after a good test. We did a lot of laps and overcame a lot of things so it’s a plus we can say. “

With some right, Bradl, or any other MotoGP rider, could point out that Rea and the top Superbike guys finally had access to special Pirelli Qualifying Level Q tires, but Bradl did not in his Michelins race. It makes a bit of a difference to Rea but had a point or two of its own regarding WorldSBK Tech versus MotoGP Tech.

“Yes, but it’s different, you can’t compare it,” said Rea. “It has 20 km / h on the back straight, carbon brakes and a light bike. You can’t compare it, it’s completely different. OK we have a soft tire but we ride a bike that you can buy in a store, spend £ 100,000 and do it fast.

“You shouldn’t be able to compare, there should be more differences, but of course I was faster than the HRC MotoGP today.”

Rea agreed that part of the reason for this is also that this test was being done in Jerez – lots of corners and few straights, all short – and that things would be different on different tracks with an even longer straight or faster design. “Of course we use five gears here, but already in fifth gear you are 20 km / h faster,” said Rea.

Can you imagine driving to Aragon in sixth gear and a long straight? Or Argentina or Mugello? I would be a big difference. But we old Superbike guys can still be pretty fast in Jerez. “

MotoGP and WorldSBK share some tracks for real racing, of course, and this weekend Portimao in Portugal is switching from just WorldSBK to a full-fledged MotoGP circuit for the season finale. It’s a uniquely undulating and dramatic stadium-style circuit with lots of blind entries and tricky sections, even for a superbike.

What will MotoGP look like in Portimao? “I don’t know,” he said before saying, “It’s a racetrack. MotoGP already has a big plus this year as a lot of the riders and teams were fast – factory teams and satellite teams – which is great. It’s in a great place. But the difference will be the driver at Portimao who can get the feel. It’s a pretty difficult stretch. I see that a lot of the guys there tested their street bikes and some test riders were there with their GP bikes. It will be a great challenge and whoever wins the race deserves a lot of praise. First, they mastered Portimao, and second, they worked best all weekend. Many drivers can always rely on their experience when they go on tracks, but everyone starts this from almost zero. It will be nice to see. “

When asked who his money was, Rea refused: “I don’t know, to be honest, I didn’t follow the tests,” he explained. “MotoGP is so unpredictable. I think someone like Joan Mir can do a really good job. The Suzuki turns very well and does everything really well. “

Rea was also asked for his opinion on whether Mir would win the championship on a Suzuki. “It’s a nice story for him because he’s been in the championship for two years, almost like a newbie, and he’s put together an incredible season. When I look at his project from the outside, it is very similar to the KRT project.

“It’s like being on a human team with lots of good people involved. If you look from the outside – and I was on the racetrack too – people smile. If you go to some of these boxes the curtains are up and they have security guards. So it seems like a really happy environment, and it obviously suits him. It’s nice to see – it’s been a spectacular year. “

Rea believes that some degree of bike continuity has also helped Suzuki’s successful challenge this season, especially since development is limited in the season and especially after his own experience with long-term models in WorldSBK.

“Even with old bikes, my best season on my previous team (Ten Kate Honda) was my last season and the bike was maybe eight years old,” said Rea. “We have seen in the past that one of Ducati’s most competitive seasons was the final year of the V-Twin. In 2020, too, our bike is derived from 2016, so continuity always helps.

“You can always make improvements. Sometimes when you’re starting from absolute zero it’s so easy to get lost in engine development. But MotoGP is in a difficult situation – like Superbike. We have a production bike that we cannot change. But now you have set rules when specifying the season. If you made mistakes or gave bad feedback in the off-season, you have to start the season on the spec engine, and that’s super tough because there is no more development. No development during the season. When you get a bad test it is really difficult to come back to what you did. “