Rarely will you see a rider who is staring in the face of history as cool and composed as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was during and after Free Practice at the Acerbis French Round. The Northern Irish rider could claim his fourth consecutive MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in either race at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, yet there was no nerviness or misjudgments from Rea throughout any of the three sessions.
The Kawasaki rider led literally every second of the combined timesheets on Friday, recording the first lap around Magny-Cours and remaining on top with best FP1 time. It won’t be as plain sailing for the 31-year-old on Saturday, but it was a good start to what could be a memorable weekend for him.
Rea’s dominance in FP1 allowed KRT to try different things during the day: “We made a change in the middle of the day with the gearing and also trying some different items, because we had a good pace in the first practice. Didn’t really work out, so basically, we went back to what we knew in the last practice”.
Tomorrow faces his first opportunity at the title – but as Rea correctly points out, it won’t be his last: “The key word is ‘first’ opportunity. I have six opportunities, six races to try and get it done. But I want to go out and try to win the race, that’s the plan. My team has given me a great bike, so it’s up to me. I’ll try to get through Superpole clean and get a good start on the grid, and then see”.
Whether it’s with opportunity one or opportunity two, the conditions are perfect for Rea to triumph in Magny-Cours: “End of September here in France and we’ve got great weather! It was hot out there today, which was nice. Also, a lot of fans here already, especially last night on the campsite. I didn’t get a great sleep because of the amount of engines being revved well into the night! It’s cool, the atmosphere is building to Race One, it’s exciting”.
Follow all the action from the Acerbis French Round thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.