He seemed the man to beat after Superpole, yet Jonathan Rea had to settle for the third step of the podium in Race 1 in the Misano round. The reigning world champion was mocked in the initial stages by a very fit Rinaldi, who with great determination took the lead setting an unapproachable pace.
In an attempt to keep up with the Ducati rider, Rea made a mistake, losing control of his Kawasaki. However, the Briton was the author of an incredible rescue and was able to stay on his feet, avoiding a disastrous fall. With a maneuver like Marc Marquez, Rea was able to get back on track immediately, then crossing the finish line in third position.
“I was more fortunate than good – Rea states speaking about the rescue – I have never saved these crashes, so I am very happy. Usually I don’t say that I give up, but this time I was off the bike, I balanced with the boot and with the knee. I pulled it back on like you’re weaving dirt track. It’s something I don’t do often, but I managed to save the fall. When I found myself outside I said ‘gee, I’m almost in the gravel’. I grabbed the brakes and practically almost stopped to avoid getting into it, but I was lucky ”.
However, the reigning world champion proved his worth and his negative race ended with a podium, demonstrating how fit he is: “I used the new front tire. I had already used it yesterday and I didn’t feel well, then I used it in Superpole and we got a lot of information after ten laps, especially regarding the temperatures when I was in Michael’s wake. I asked too much from the tires, the bike started moving a lot. When I was able to get back on track I had a gap from Toprak and I started to feel better. Not good, but better. For tomorrow we will have to review if we can be fast with the normal front. It brings us more confidence under braking, but we have to find something for the end of the race ”.
“The pace was good in the final laps anyway – he continues – Michael did a fantastic job today, he was really good. The pace at the front was really good. The only place where I could have gone better was perhaps the fast corners, because I was trying to get strong and go. Let’s see if tomorrow we can take a small step, because today I learned a lot from Michael and also from Toprak. Tomorrow we should be better prepared ”.
Despite everything, the Kawasaki rider believes he has learned a lot from today’s race: “They were very aggressive on the first lap, it seemed like everyone wanted to go up front and not let me be in the lead. But Michael had a great pace, so I have to be happy with this race because I learned a lot. After losing the first free practice on Friday, it’s good to fight for the podium because we didn’t have much time. So tomorrow we can take a big step forward. Maybe I could have reached Toprak, but he made no mistakes and to be honest he had the same problem as me stopping the bike, especially after the Oak. So let’s hope that tomorrow I will be able to solve this problem in order to be closer ”.
Furthermore, from a championship point of view, the Briton increases his advantage over Redding, who, however, does not consider him as the only rival in terms of the world championship: “Everyone is focusing on Redding, but honestly I also see other drivers fighting. I think always talking about Scott is a lack of respect towards Toprak, who is second in the standings. It is also true to Michael, who demolished everyone today, did a great job. Clearly last year he was the main rival, but Toprak is second in the championship. In any case, the important thing is that at the end of a negative race we are still on the podium. Let’s say that I was really lucky and that I got help from God ”.
Rea then concludes with a thought towards the fans, who are slowly returning to fill the stands of the circuit: “It’s nice to see the public at Misano! I saw some Kawasaki fans, my shirt from last year’s championship. I’ve never raced for an Italian manufacturer, but every time I come here I always get a great welcome. They are very warm, it’s nice to see some ‘love’ and we hope to celebrate tomorrow ”.