May 9, 2013
© 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
From a press release
issued by Pata Honda Superbike Team
eni FIM Superbike World Championship: Jonathan Rea (65) in action during a recent test at Assen.
Rea and Akiyoshi seek Monza speed
The Pata Honda team has traveled to Italy for this weekend's fourth-round World Superbike championship event at the Autodromo Nationale di Monza, just north of Milan.
Jonathan Rea is in good form following his second and fourth place finishes in round three at Assen in the Netherlands two weeks ago. The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland also enjoyed a successful test at the Dutch circuit following the race weekend.
Rea's Pata Honda crew has further refined the new electronics package on his CBR1000RR machine and he will debut a new fuel tank this weekend to optimise aerodynamics on the long Monza straights, as well as enhancing weight distribution.
Rea is joined at Monza by Japanese rider Kosuke Akiyoshi, who is replacing the injured Leon Haslam. Akiyoshi has not ridden the SBK-specification CBR or Pirelli tyres before, and the weekend will mark his first visit to Monza. However, the 38-year-old from Kurume partnered Jonathan Rea to last season's Suzuka 8-hour victory with Tadayuki Okada.
The 5.777km Autodromo Nationale di Monza has hosted spectacular motorsport events since the 1920s and has a fine tradition of high-speed slipstreaming battles in Superbike racing, often producing tantalizingly close finishes.
The Monza Superbike action kicks off tomorrow morning at 11.45 local time, with Superpole on Saturday afternoon at 15.00 to determine final grid positions for Sunday's two 18-lap races.
It’s always good to be back in Italy and at Monza, which is in such a nice area and always brings a really enthusiastic crowd. We had a two-day test after Assen which has got me even more comfortable with the new electronics but there’s really nothing that you can test to prepare for Monza’s longs straights and the horsepower that they require. It’s a circuit that gives us some bigger challenges than others, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in on Friday.
I arrived from Japan only yesterday but I had a good sleep after doing a few laps of Monza on a scooter. It is a very good circuit with lots of chicanes and high speed straights and it looks like a lot of fun. I’ve seen some races on TV and it is very fast at Monza! Of course, everything is different for me on this CBR – suspension, tyres and electronics. But I think the package is good and, although I might have to adapt my riding style, my target for the weekend is to reach the podium.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
We’re bringing Jonathan’s good results at Assen to Monza, which makes us reasonably confident about the weekend ahead. The last few years we haven’t quite had the pace for podiums but we’ve been running in the top five and we’ve seen some good lap times. I see no reason why we should not fight for top places and maybe even the podium this time with Jonathan. We welcome Akiyoshi-san to the team to replace Leon here but it’s a case of wait and see at the moment. He’s new to the team, to the bike, to the tyres, to the circuit, but we wish him the best and, whatever the results, we look forward to a joyful weekend with him.
2013 World Superbike championship, round four
Autodromo Nationale di Monza – weekend schedule (local times – GMT+2)
Friday 10 May
11.45-12.30 Free practice
15.30-16.15 Qualifying 1
Saturday 11 May
09.45-10.30 Qualifying 2
12.30-13.15 Free practice
15.00-15.14 Superpole 1
15.21-15.33 Superpole 2
15.40-15.50 Superpole 3
Sunday 12 May
12.00 Race 1 (18 laps 103.986km)
15.30 Race 2 (18 laps 103.986km)