Jonathan Rea recovered from a huge front-end slide to secure his seventh consecutive podium of 2021 at Misano.
Championship leader Rea was sitting in second behind eventual race winner Michael Rinaldi when he suffered a front end slide that almost caused him to crash. He produced an incredible save to recover and eventually finished the race in third.
Earlier in the day Rea had taken his third Superpole win of the season at record pace, with a 1’33.416 lap time.
The six-time world champion suggested he could opt for a different front tyre choice for Sunday as he battled front end issues throughout the race.
“Saving a possible crash was more lucky than anything. I chose the new front tyre for this race. I used it in Superpole and felt quite good but we did not have a lot of information after ten laps in all.
“It seems like the temperature, especially in the race, meant I cooked the tyre too much. It started moving quite a lot. When I rejoined the track and had a gap up to Toprak it felt better, not perfect, but better,” said Rea.
“So tomorrow we need to revisit things to see if we can be fast with our ‘normal’ front tyre.”
“The new one brought some confidence on the brakes but we need to be able to fight at the end of the race. My pace was still OK for the last laps but the moment I had in Turn One disturbed my rhythm and let Michael get away.
“He did fantastic today and the pace at the front was really good. I think tomorrow we can make a small step with the bike because I learned a lot from Michael and Toprak in race one.
“Tomorrow we should be better prepared.”
KRT team-mate Alex Lowes had a quiet race – spending the full 21 laps in fifth place – but suffered similar front-end issues to Rea.
“I was a lot worse than I expected today. In the practices I thought, ‘I feel good,’. I set lots of good laps and changed the bike a little bit on the front. In the race I didn’t have the feel I needed and from the first laps I was struggling with releasing the brake and carrying some corner speed,” Lowes explained.
“The front was moving a lot. I had a couple of warnings so I did not have the confidence to push like I expected. It was a shame because I hoped to be a bit faster but this was my first time racing here on the Kawasaki and obviously the temperatures came up for the race too. So we have good information for tomorrow.”
Rea and Lowes now look forward to Sunday where they will face the ten-lap Superpole sprint race and then the final 21 lap race of the weekend later the same-day.
Words: Daniel Blackham Lead Image: Kawasaki Motors Europe