However, the brave Ballyclare teenager has battled his way back to full fitness and has been enjoying an incredible debut season in the 2005 Superbike series. After becoming the youngest ever rider to take pole position in the championship at round five, Rea followed it up at round six at Croft with his best race finish of the season to date. The Red Bull Honda rider passed the chequered flag in seventh position ahead of an array of more experienced riders.
His elation turned to frustration in race two though after a coming together with two other riders saw the Ulster teenager end his race in the gravel. Undeterred, he is looking to this weekend to beat the circuit that defeated him last year and secure further invaluable experience in the championship.
Jonathan Rea: “I’ve had a really good season so far and I never expected to be doing so well so early in the year for Red Bull Honda. The fact that I am has filled me with confidence and I feel as ready as I can be to face Knockhill. The CBR1000RR Fireblade is working well with the Dunlop tyres and I’m sure that, with such a great package, we can achieve another good result.”
Laverty remains focussed
Eugene Laverty is aiming to continue the strong form that he has displayed throughout the course of the 2005 British Supersport Championship for Red Bull Honda at Knockhill this weekend.
The 19-year-old equalled his best result of the season when he finished in sixth position at his home round at Mondello Park. Laverty was following this up with one of his best rides of the season at round six at Croft before a slipping clutch on the Red Bull Honda CBR600RR forced him into a frustrating early finish.
The Ulsterman was in fourth position before retiring early to pit lane on lap 15 of 20. Since then, the team has been working on perfecting the set-up of the machine ahead of this weekend. Laverty is hoping to prove once again that he can be among the frontrunners at the Scottish track.
Eugene Laverty: “I was a little disappointed about what happened at Croft, but it was also quite a positive event in terms of gaining further experience of dicing with the leading pack. The Red Bull Honda team has been working hard on the CBR600RR to have it ready in time for Knockhill, so I feel confident that I can put in another good performance.”
Jones takes first victory
Chris Jones is approaching round seven of the British 125GP Championship at Knockhill with renewed enthusiasm and confidence after securing his first victory for Red Bull Honda.
The 14-year-old rookie rode a superb race aboard the Honda RS125 at round six at Croft for his first race win of the season. He took the holeshot from third position on the grid but soon came under pressure from more experienced riders. Despite dropping back to fourth place, Jones remained calm. He fought his way back to the front of the pack, eventually passing the chequered flag 0.906 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
Knockhill is another new circuit for the talented teenager to tackle, but he is keen to make the most of the practice sessions and optimistic about his chances now that he has proved his potential in the Honda-dominated series.
Chris Jones: “I was ecstatic to have won my first race for Red Bull Honda. Everything seems to have come together for both me and the team over the last couple of events and I feel that we now have a really strong package. It’s my job now to make the most of that package and try to finish on the podium a few more times before the end of the season.”
Notes to editors:
Knockhill – vital statistics
Circuit length: 1.2986 miles
Superbike lap record: 50.053 (Steve Hislop)
Supersport lap record: 52.804 (Michael Laverty)
125 lap record: 54.926 (Casey Stoner)
2004 BSB race one result: 1. Scott Smart; 2. James Haydon; 3. Yukio Kagayama
2004 BSB race two result: 1. James Haydon; 2. Sean Emmett; 3. John Reynolds
2004 BSS result: 1. Paul Young; 2. Karl Harris; 3. Michael Laverty
2004 125 result: 1. Paul Robinson; 2.Christian Elkin; 3. Rob Guiver; 7. Eugene Laverty