Castrol Honda determined to take positives from Magny Cours

Despite starting thetwo 12th round World Superbike race at Magny-Cours in France from pole position, the day ended in disappointment for Castrol Honda rider Jonathan Rea.

The 24-year-old from Northern Ireland finished neither race, both of which were won by Spain’s Carlos Checa, whose race one victory confirmed his 2011 World Superbike riders’ championship title.

In race one, Rea appeared to jump the start but, as he stopped, the lights went out and he was left down in seventh place on the opening laps. At the end of lap four, as he prepared to fight his way back to the front, Rea touched the curb at the final chicane, crashing out of contention.

He went out for race two on his spare CBR1000RR Fireblade and got the perfect start from his pole position, leading into the first turn and the subsequent seven laps. However, on lap 13, Rea’s bike slowed visibly and he retired shortly afterwards, his tea m diagnosing a faulty crank ignition sensor as the cause of his retirement.

Jonathan ReaThis is not exactly what we expected after a strong performance in Imola and we were hoping to make up for the disappointment of that second race retirement. We kind of got halfway there with the pole position yesterday, but raceday was a completely different chapter. In race one, you know, I can put my hand up and say I got completely out of rhythm after I thought I’d jumped the start. Actually, when we checked the wheel speeds, it turned out that it wasn’t a jump start – it was just a short movement, but I got swamped in the pack. I was out of my rhythm then and ended up making a stupid mistake over a kerb. I was leading race two for a good bit and enjoying myself. Eugene [Laverty] went past and made a bit of a break but I re-grouped and then realised that Carlos [Checa] was coming. I thought I’d follow Carlos back up to E ugene and he’d pull us clear, but we had another silly little electrical malfunction. Of course it’s disappointing for both myself and the team to have two DNFs here but now we’re going to Portimao, which is a track that I really enjoy and we’ve had some success there. We won’t feel sorry for ourselves because we know we’ve got the pace to run at the front, no matter what the conditions, so we’ll got to Portugal and I’ll do my best as usual.

Ronald ten Kate – team managerThat was a very tough race-day. In race one it all went wrong at the start when Jonathan got himself in a difficult position and he ended up crashing out while dicing to get back up to the front. Our hopes were high for the second race, which started really well with Jonathan leading. Unfortunately, the crank sensor broke, which brought the bike to a complete stop. We can understand that, after introducing the ride-by-wire system last weekend, that people might think this is linked with the electrical problems here and at Imola. I just want to confirm that that is not the case – the new system is nothing to do with what went wrong and the two failures were one in a million chances. It’s difficult right now, so soon after the races, to be positive about the Magny-Cours weekend, but there is plenty to take away with us. Once again, we have been constantly up at the front and, more importantly, we’ve been fast in hot track conditions. No matter what, we still have a strong belief that we are in the right direction on our development path for 2012, which is already showing some success. We are now very, very focused on getting two good results in Portimao.

2011 World Superbike championship, round 12Magny-Cours, France (4.411km), 23 laps - results, race one:1 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati2 Marco Melandri (ITA) Yamaha3 Leon Haslam (GB R) BMWRace two:1 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati2 Marco Melandri (ITA)3 Eugene Laverty (IRL) YamahaChampionship points after 12 of 13 rounds:1 Checa 467, 2 Melandri 360, 3 Laverty 283, 4 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 281, 5 Haslam 216, 6 Leon Camier (GBR) Aprilia 194.

Final round: Portimao, Portugal – 14-16 October

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