The Pata Honda team is heading for this weekend’s (3-5 October) final European round of the 2014 World Superbike championship season at Magny-Cours in France.
Jonathan Rea, currently sitting in third place in the championship standings, is looking forward to battling with his rivals once more on his Pata Honda CBR1000RR machine and targeting an eighth rostrum finish of the 2014 season having twice visited the Magny-Cours podium in the past.
The 27-year-old British rider is 36 points behind second-placed Sylvain Guintoli and, with the final round scheduled to take place at Losail in Qatar on 2 November, both riders still have a mathematical chance to overhaul leader Tom Sykes, who is a further 31 points ahead of Guintoli.
Similarly, Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam is intent on maintaining his challenge for improved results. The 31-year-old currently lies in tenth place in the points table but has shown steady progress in the last five races with a string of consistent top eight finishes.
Haslam, who has not enjoyed podium champagne at Magny-Cours since the 2010 season, will be targeting a stronger qualifying performance at the French circuit this weekend in order to mount a sustained challenge for further podium places.
The 4.411km Magny-Cours circuit lies in central France, approximately 260km south of the capital Paris. The scene of James Toseland’s World Superbike championship title victory for Honda in 2007, it features 20 corners - nine lefts and eleven rights - with one of the tightest hairpins (Turn 5) seen on any world championship circuit.
Magny-Cours World Superbike event schedule (local times):
Friday 3 October11.45-12.30 Free Practice 115.30-16.15 Free Practice 2
Saturday 4 October09.45-10.30 Free Practice 312.30-13.00 Free Practice 415.00-15.15 Superpole 115.25-15.40 Superpole 2
Sunday 5 October08.40-08.55 Warm-up10.30 Race 1 (21 laps, 92.631km)13.10 Race 2 (21 laps, 92.631km)
Jonathan ReaI’m really excited to be going back to Magny-Cours – I enjoy the circuit layout a lot and itsfast direction changes seem to suit our package really well. We’ve also had some goodresults there in the past. To be honest, I’m just looking forward to riding the bike again;these long gaps between the last few races of the season are not good or helpful formaintaining any kind of rhythm. I’ve been doing a lot of training on my CRF450Rmotocrosser, just to keep my levels of concentration as high as possible. Last time out inJerez we had some really good pace at the end of the races – probably among thestrongest. Now we need to work on getting that pace earlier in the race to allow us tochallenge for podiums and wins. But we’ll be starting in Magny-Cours with what we knowand conc entrate through the weekend on getting the best possible set-up for Sunday.
Leon HaslamYeah, I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike at Magny-Cours this weekend.Another month off since the last race has not been ideal in terms of keeping recentmomentum going but it is what is it. I like the circuit and I’ve had some pretty good resultsthere in the past, even though last year’s races were not great. The weather can always playits part at Magny-Cours as well – it might suit us if it’s wet but, either way, I’m lookingforward to getting out there again.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinatorMagny-Cours has not been a bad circuit for us in the past so we plan to go into full-attackmode that will allow Jonathan to retain his third place in the standings and even to improvehis position, if possible. His recent results have been good for his confidence so we’relooking forward to the weekend. We’ll keep pushing with Leon, too, and try our best to givehim a setting with which he is comfortable and can target the podium in Sunday’s two races.