Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two fifth round World Superbike championship races from the second row of the grid after setting the sixth fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole contest at Donington Park in the UK.
Rea spent much of today evaluating tyres for the two 23-lap races around the historic 4.023km Donington circuit and will start from row two, behind pole sitter Tom Sykes.
Rea’s Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, narrowly missed out on Superpole after this morning’s second qualifying session and will start the two Donington races from 17th place on the grid.
Jonathan Rea – P6 1m28.546s Firstly, we achieved our target which was to make Superpole 3, and the bike’s still working really well. I’m having some problems with the wheelie control on the straights and some aggressive power. We’ll try to smooth that off for tomorrow but, at the moment, the race looks a little strange because everyone’s found a little bit of pace with the softer tyre, which is quite fast. We’ve had one looking pretty good after some distance and one looking terrible so we need to evaluate the risk to go with that one, or run with the harder tyre, which is a lot slower, but we know it’ll complete the race in good shape. The bike’s working a lot better than last year so we’re definitely making progress with the CBR and the whole team is working well.
Hiroshi Aoyama – P17 1m30.008s This morning we weren’t able to improve and the time between me and Berger was very close but, unfortunately, he made it to Superpole and I did not, so I am very disappointed. We have problems in quite a lot of areas, which I hope we can improve for tomorrow’s races. It’s a pity because we started with quite a good feeling on the first day, but today the others kept improving and we were not able to. I can’t push in the areas I want to and it’s quite difficult to pass other riders here, but I’ll do my best in the races and see what happens.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator We have been looking a lot better with Hiroshi than in previous races but unfortunately he just missed out on Superpole, which was a real shame. We had made some progress and he seemed happier with the bike. We expect him to gain a few places in the races and we’re quite optimistic. With Jonathan it was quite hard this morning and we went in slightly the wrong direction with the setting. We also had some electronics issues that needed solving. In the end, we are sixth on the grid, which is OK. The tyre choice depends a lot on the weather, but there is a big gap between the two options. We’ll hope for sun and higher temperatures because that will make the decision a lot easier!
2012 World Superbike championship – round five , Donington Park, UK
Final qualifying results:
1 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m27.716s 2 Leon Haslam (GBR) BMW 1m27.864s 3 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1m28.177s 4 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1m28.340s 5 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati 1m28.420s 6 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team 1m28.546s 17 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team 1m30.008 (QP2)