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Monday 5th September 2011

SOLID RETURN FOR REA AT NURBURGRING

Jonathan Rea took a tenth and a fourth place finish in today’s two tenth-round World Superbike championship races at Nurburgring in Germany, marking his comeback to racing after three months off through injury.

The dry first race was won by series leader, Carlos Checa, with Tom Sykes claiming his maiden World Superbike victory in race two which was declared wet just minutes before the start.

Rea started race one from ninth place on the grid and fought his way up to sixth before a lack of drive out of corners dropped him to tenth at the flag. His Castrol Honda team-mate for the German round, Makoto Tamada, suffered from handling issues to finish in 17th position.

As torrential rain fell on the 5.137km Nurburgring circuit, Rea began race two from the second row following the withdrawal of Max Biaggi. A good start put the 24-year-old up into second place but clutch issues did not allow him to hold a line into Nurburgring&r squo;s tight first corner and he dropped to fourth.

Rea crashed heavily into turn 1 on lap 12 but managed to remount in fifth position before race leader, Noriyuki Haga, crashed out with the race ultimately being red flagged after two thirds distance.

Tmada was one of five riders to crash out of race two – the Japanese rider having been on course to take championship points in 14th place before high-siding out of contention at turn 11.

Jonathan Rea – 10th and 4th

I was really excited to get back on the bike on Friday after three months off but I struggled to get a rhythm in race one and I had some front grip problems and felt a lack of acceleration out of corners. In race two it rained right on the start, which was then delayed. I crashed out of fourth going into turn one, which was really unfortunate, but luckily I was able to pick the bike up and rejoin in fifth place. When Nori Haga crashed out of the lead I got back to fourth so I was happy with the result. I’m especially happy for the team and, although it’s not a podium or a win, it’s something for the guys who haven’t had a lot to cheer about recently. It’s a bit of motivation to take to the next race, at least!

Makoto Tamada – 17th and DNF

It has been quite a difficult weekend to learn the bike and we have had some problems with chatter since Friday. Unfortunately, we still had some problems in the first race today, which stopped me from getting a better result. In race two the conditions were very bad and sometimes it was very hard to see because the rain was so heavy. I was riding very carefully and trying very hard not to crash but near the end, the rear just let go and then gripped again – I was not even on the gas – so I’m very sorry for the team. It is a pity because I have enjoyed riding here with the team very much.< /em>

Ronald ten Kate – team manager
Of course this was a special weekend for us with Jonathan coming back to ride again. He rode pretty well, but we could all have used some more laps to find some rhythm for him and to resolve the last few set-up issues. He had a solid finish in the first race and it looked as though race two was going to be a really nice topping on a good comeback weekend. It clearly wasn’t meant to be, but he handled the situation really well by picking up the bike, which shows his level of determination. It’s definitely something we can build on for Imola. We were sorry we couldn’t do a test with Makoto Tamada before the weekend here because it was all kind of a last-minute call. In the changing conditions we’ve had over the weekend it was quite difficult for him to find his way round here on a new bike. We’ve really enjoyed working with him though. Now the team will head to Misano for a two-day test where we’ll bring quite a few new parts for the machine to continue preparing for 2012.

2011 World Superbike championship, round 10
Nurburgring, Germany (5.137km), 20 laps - results, race one:
1 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 38m59.779s
2 Marco Melandri (ITA) Yamaha +1.855s
3 Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Aprilia +2.322s
4 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Yamaha +7.789s
5 Leon Haslam (GBR) BMW +9.727s
6 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati +10.113s
10 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Castrol Honda +19.457s
17 Makoto Tamada (JPN) Castrol Honda +1’16.143s
Race two (13 laps)
1 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 29’49.337s
2 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati +4.063s
3 Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati +22.759s
4 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Castrol Honda +28.497s
5 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Yamaha +38.374s
6 Marco Melandri (ITA) Yamaha +45.326s
DNF Makoto Tamada (JPN) Castrol Honda

Championship points after five of 13 rounds :
1 Checa 376, 2 Melandri 302, 3 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 281, 4 Laverty 232, 5 Haslam 176.

Next round: Imola, Italy – 23-25 September

 

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