At the end of the first day of free practice at the Aragon MotorLand circuit Jonathan Rea found himself in the grip of the Ducatis, with Davies in front of him and Redding behind. All in all a good start for the world champion, but he is no mood for proclamations at the moment.
“It’s gone, it’s the first day of school and Aragon is not like Phillip Island, we know it well because we have done a lot of tests here – he explained – It’s nice to start, the asphalt today was a bit slippery, not very rubbery and it was hot, the conditions were different from those of the tests and we worked to fix the setup because it seems that the temperatures will drop tomorrow and by a lot , 5 or 10 degrees they say. I feel good on the bike, but the conditions will change ”.
Of course, we have to broach the subject of the decision to cut the rev limit of the ZX-10RR by 500 rpm (from 15,100 to 14,600).
“We had to put the limiter on. Our bike is more powerful than last year’s, the biggest difference is that we have to use an extra gear at some point, the data says that we are not slower but by ear it seems there is less power ”.
This was his first comment, but of course, this decision did not go down well with Johnny …
“It’s very frustrating because it was only taken last Friday, but that’s life and we have to accept it.”
Why so late?
“This is something you will have to ask Scott Smart – mentioning the name of the championship technical director – I have no other comments on the subject, it is as it is. This season we have a new engine, with many different parts, now a manufacturer has to spend millions to develop a new generation of completely new engines to get concessions, it’s not in the spirit of SBK. In the past, the manufacturers evolved their bikes every 4 years, now they have to do it every 2 or 3, this makes things more difficult for everyone, not just for Kawasaki ”.
However, Rea does not believe that this cut limited his performance today …
“Hard to say, I don’t think so – were his words – I think I was slower today because of the track conditions, for my sensations on the bike, especially with the front. I think the rev limit hasn’t had a huge influence, having more helps but the bike has a lot of power even before the limit. Those 500 revs more are a margin in some corners, which allows you to continue to use the same gear, as I said before ”.
All that remains to do is to wait for the first race to find out what will happen …
“I’m not sure what to expect, it will depend on what conditions we find tomorrow – said Jonathan – It’s the first race of the year and anything could happen, there are not only Davies and Redding but a lot of fast riders “.
Audio recorded by Riccardo Guglielmetti