WSBK: Jonathan Rea hampered by traction issues on day one at Jerez
Jonathan Rea endured a difficult opening day in practice at Jerez ahead of his bid to wrap up a second World Superbike title at the Spanish circuit this weekend.
The Ulster rider was ninth quickest in free practice on the Kawasaki, but only three tenths down on team-mate and chief title rival Tom Sykes, who topped the session on day one.
Rea, who only needs to outscore Yorkshireman Sykes this weekend by two points to retain his world crown, said: “It seems like it is going okay but when we are looking for some improvement it is not coming. I feel I am riding well and the bike is behaving itself on the entry of the corner, and chassis-wise in general, but we are struggling everywhere with traction.
“We are having more spinning than we did here during testing and the electronics are cutting in everywhere in acceleration. So we just need to focus on that. I normally never struggle with traction and everywhere else on track the bike feels quite good,” added the 29-year-old.
“Consistently we are a couple of tenths off where we should be but there is just one main issue we need to focus on.”
Sykes edged out Welshman Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati) by only 0.038 seconds, with Alex Lowes third fastest on the Pata Yamaha.
Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team), Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) and Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Yamaha) were the top six.
Superpole qualifying takes place on Saturday from 9.30am UK time, with the first of the weekend’s two races at the penultimate round of the championship scheduled for a 12 noon start.