Undeterred, Red Bull Honda’s protégé will embark on his quest to record his third points-scoring ride of the season on his CBR1000RR Fireblade during tomorrow’s eagerly anticipated two 30-lap Superbike races. Rea’s steep learning curve in only his third year of road racing as part of the Red Bull Honda project has given him a credible return of seven points and 16th place in the series overall.
Jonathan Rea: “I haven’t raced at Mallory Park before, so this was always going to be a challenging weekend for me. It’s an easy circuit to learn, but it’s difficult to shave those vital fractions of a second off my qualifying time to be higher up the grid.
“We found a good set-up for the Red Bull Honda at the last round at Thruxton, but this circuit is of course a completely different kettle of fish. At the moment it’s going to be hard work to get into the points, but we’ve got some adjustments to try tomorrow morning in the warm-up – we’ll have to see how that goes!”
Qualifying: 1. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 50.593; 2. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) 50.816; 3. G. Richards (Kawasaki) 50.983; 4. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) 51.244; 5. K. Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) 51.258; 6. L. Haslam (Ducati) 51.295; 7. S. Smart (Suzuki) 51.345; 8. G. Lavilla (Ducati) 51.439; 9. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) 51.497; 10. J. Buckingham (Suzuki) 51.537; 25. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) 52.251
Top ten qualifying for Laverty
Eugene Laverty has qualified in the top ten for the third consecutive round of the 2005 Metabo British Supersport Championship. The 18-year-old Red Bull Honda rider completed the second qualifying session in ninth position overall in a time of 52.955 seconds – a fraction outside the circuit lap record.
The 2003-04 championship-winning CBR600RR has once again come to the fore in the ultra-competitive Supersport class. Laverty joins eight other Honda riders on the front three rows of the grid, headed by series leader Jay Vincent and his team-mate Leon Camier in pole and second positions respectively. Such was the pace at the front of the 35-strong field that Vincent shaved a massive 0.81 seconds off his existing lap record.
Laverty is continuing to demonstrate the promise that he has shown over the first two rounds at Brands Hatch and Thruxton. The talented teenager from Toomebridge in Northern Ireland has taken to the power and handling characteristics of the four-stroke Red Bull Honda CBR600RR, which has propelled him into sixth place in the championship overall before tomorrow’s 28-lap race.
Eugene Laverty: “I’m quite happy with the progress that we have made today. My times on race tyres are good and I’m quietly confident ahead of tomorrow’s race. I may have dropped off the second row towards the end of that session, but the Red Bull Honda is performing well through the faster sections of this circuit. I hope that this will enable me to make solid progress through the field over race distance and maintain my top six position.”
Qualifying: 1. J. Vincent (Padgetts Honda) 51.948; 2. L. Camier (Padgetts Honda) 52.095; 3. T. Sykes (Suzuki) 52.277; 4. C. Jones (Honda) 52.586; 5. K. Murphy (Honda) 52.779; 6. P. Riba (Kawasaki) 52.862; 7. S. Easton (Ducati) 52.902; 8. C. Crutchlow (Honda) 52.936; 9. E. Laverty (Red Bull Honda) 52.955; 10. J. Robinson (Honda) 53.001
Rookie claims fifth position
After qualifying for the previous two rounds of the British 125GP Championship in third, Chris Jones had to settle for fifth position and a second row start for tomorrow’s 22-lap race at Mallory Park – despite a crash in this afternoon’s final session. This restricted the 14-year-old rookie to a best time of 0:55.025 on his Red Bull Honda RS125, which was only 0.591 seconds down on pole position setter and defending champion Christian Elkin.
The Droitwich teenager signed for Red Bull Honda after impressing the team’s panel of judges during a selection day at the Leicestershire circuit at the end of last year. Further to the progress he has made during pre-season testing, Jones has been a front-runner in the opening two rounds of the Honda-dominated series.
He is hoping that his competitive performance during qualifying at the 1.39-mile Leicestershire circuit will be replicated over race distance. A points-scoring finish would be just reward for the promising start he has made to the 13-round series.
Chris Jones: “I’m obviously a bit frustrated at crashing out of a potential front row starting position. I was on a hot lap and it may have been enough to claim a top four spot. However, thanks to the hard work of the team, we have made good progress over the past couple of days and I feel that I’m ready for race day. I’m hoping for a bit of luck here at Mallory this weekend, so it’s fingers crossed that I can bring the Red Bull Honda home to the chequered flag.”
Qualifying: 1. C. Elkin (Honda) 54.434; 2. K. Weston (Honda) 54.529; 3. B. Smith (Honda) 54.544; 4. J. Westmoreland (Honda) 54.867; 5. C. Jones (Red Bull Honda) 55.025; 6. R. Guiver (Honda) 55.090; 7. D. Linfoot (Honda) 55.109; 8. A. Beech (Honda) 55.109; 9. M. Smart (Honda) 55.206; 10. A. Lowes (Honda) 55.259