Gino Rea admitted that the Italian Grand Prix was the toughest weekend of his season so far. The AGT-Rea Racing rider struggled with handling problems throughout the weekend but a drastic setup change in morning warmup gave him a lot more confidence in the bike for Sunday’s 21 lap Moto2 race.
Speaking to Crash.net after finishing 21st Rea admitted that being cautious on the opening laps, as he adapted to the new setup, cost him the chance to fight with the likes of established Moto2 riders Alex de Angelis and Anthony West:
“It’s been a really difficult weekend and we struggled with setup and my feeling on the bike,” admitted Rea. “The main problem was getting the bike turned because here there’s so many corners where you need to turn without the brake so we made a big change for warmup and the bike was, chassis wise, a lot better.
“In the first few laps I was trying to get my head around the bike and I lost a few places but after that I got into a rhythm and did my best lap of the weekend and actually caught up to the group which led up to 16th with de Angelis and Simon and I managed to pass Simon and finish in front of Terol.
“It’s good although the position is obviously not where I know that we can be but considering we’ve had a really difficult weekend we made good progress for the race. The laptimes were consistent and I think that if I’d made a better start that I could have been at the front of that group. It’s a positive finish to a really hard weekend.”
Rea came to Mugello with hopes of a much stronger race having had a competitive showing at Le Mans where the team seemed to have understood the bike better than at previous races and any setup changes made had been positive. At Mugello, until race day, the opposite had been the case with Rea struggling for balance in practice and qualifying. The setup changes on race day however left Rea positive leaving Italy that the team is turning a corner:
“Considering the progress that we made at Le Mans it probably has been. We came away from Le Mans thinking that we could make another step but we didn’t make that step this weekend. The first four races of the year were always going to be difficult and I found this weekend difficult because we didn’t improve from Le Mans on the Friday and Saturday.
“The main problem is that it’s taking us too long to get the bike where we need it to be. In the race I was reasonably happy with the bike but it with the first five or six laps not being so good. We finished on a positive though which is really good and hopefully we can keep improving. It’s great to beat the big established teams. This is our sixth race and to beat Aspar and Italtrans is an accomplishment.”