It was a big weekend for East Antrim’s Jonathan Rea at the Aperol Grand Prix of San Marino and the Rimini Riviera at Misano as he competed in his first ever MotoGP race for the Repsol Honda team. And after qualifying on the third row for the race, he took a well-deserved eighth place behind winner Jorge Lorenzo.
Riding world champion Casey Stoner’s Repsol Honda, the talented 25-year-old kept a cool head as he crossed the line ahead of Randy De Puniet and Michele Pirro.
“It was a tough race and I just wanted to get into a rhythm and maintain it. I’m still nowhere near the limit, I’m not really having any moments, just a few mistakes running wide, it’s a matter of trust and I’m still acclimatising to the machine.
“I’m really happy with the progress I made throughout the race and I learnt so much that you simply can’t pick up in testing about race distance, how the tyre wear goes down, the fuel load and how the bike behaves differently.
“In the beginning Nicky pulled a gap and I was catching him but in the end it wasn’t enough. To finish eighth is ok, but the gap to the front is a little frustrating. In general, I’m really happy and I’m looking forward to the next challenge in Aragon. I want to thank all the Repsol Honda team for their hard work and support they’ve given me and to all the fans back home,” said Jonathan who dons his world superbike leathers for this weekend’s Portimao, Portugal round 13 of the series.