The 26-year-old Pata Honda rider lapped the 5.777km Monza circuit in a time of 1’43.157, near lap record pace and just two tenths behind provisional pole sitter GoldBet BMW’s Marco Melandri. The Isle of Man resident topped this morning’s wet free practice session, but missed around twenty minutes of qualifying this afternoon while adjustments were made to the brakes on his Honda CBR1000RR.
His team-mate for this Monza weekend, Kosuke Akiyoshi, who is replacing injured British rider Leon Haslam, was fourth quickest this morning but, with a dry track this afternoon, spent time adjusting to Pirelli tyres. The 38-year-old Japanese rider finished the day in seventeenth place.
“It’s really fun to be back on the fast straights at Monza. In the wet this morning, I was doing some bedding in of the brakes and I was quite surprised how motivated I was to ride in the rain. Normally, if it’s wet in FP1 I’m not that happy about going out and it kind of went OK,” said Rea.
“We improved the bike a lot in the wet compared to Friday at Assen, where we still needed to get better control on the electronics. In the dry this afternoon, I was doing some more brake testing but I had some issues so the guys had to spend a lot of time making changes. It ate up a lot of the session but when I went out again the bike directly felt better.
“So, with little time today, we’re quite happy with where we are. The bike’s really strong in engine braking and we’re looking forward to tomorrow when our main focus will be on acceleration off the corners.”
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