East Antrim’s Jonathan Rea and the Pata Honda team is preparing to return to Spain this weekend for round two of the 2014 World Superbike championship.
After tests at Jerez and Cartagena, Rea and team-mate Leon Haslam, are happy with the progress made by the team on their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines.
“We’re still a little bit away from outright domination and probably have some more work to do to get on the podium here, but overall I’m quite happy with the progress we’ve made,” said former Larne Grammar pupil, Rea.
“The traction control is now working pretty well, although there’s still a bit more work needed on engine braking. We’ve definitely made some steps forward though.
“We tested some new Pirelli qualifiers and I was quite fast, but we need more ultimate pace on race tyres. I’m OK when they’re old and a bit worn, but need a little more from the new tyre. We also tested a heap of different chassis settings,” added the Ballyclare man.
Fellow Northern Ireland rider, Eugene Laverty, riding for the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki squad, is also looking forward to the Aragon race.
Seeley and McWilliams help launch NW 200
Local riders Alastair Seeley and Jermey McWilliams helped launch the 2014 Vauxhall North West 200 this week.
The pair were joined by a host of top road racers, including John McGuinness, William and Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson, Josh Brookes, Stuart Easton, Ryan Farquhar, Keith Amor, Steve Mercer and Peter Hickman.
“The North West is delighted to have the very best road racers on the grid at our race this year,” said event Director Mervyn Whyte said afterwards.
“Not only will we have all the top stars who race in all the other International races but the North West has also attracted entries from superb riders like Alastair Seeley, Stuart Easton and Jeremy McWilliams who won’t be competing at any other road races this year.”
The additional extra lap to both of Saturday’s Superbike races and the new Man of the Meeting award in memory of the late, great Robert Dunlop, were met with universal approval.
Picture inset: Alastair Seeley and Jeremy McWilliams were among the riders at the launch of this year’s North West 200.