WSBK

Jonathan Rea and Kosuke Akiyoshi seek Monza speed

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The Pata Honda team has travelled 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.

It‰Ûªs always good to be back in Italy and at Monza, which is in such a nice area and always brings a really enthusiastic crowd." Rea stated.

"We had a two-day test after Assen which has got me even more comfortable with the new electronics but there‰Ûªs really nothing that you can test to prepare for Monza‰Ûªs longs straights and the horsepower that they require.

"It‰Ûªs a circuit that gives us some bigger challenges than others, but I‰Ûªm looking forward to getting stuck in on Friday," he added.
Kosuke Akiyosh will fill in for the injured Leon Haslam - Credit: Honda Racing
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.

"I arrived from Japan only yesterday but I had a good sleep after doing a few laps of Monza on a scooter." Akiyoshi explained. "It is a very good circuit with lots of chicanes and high speed straights and it looks like a lot of fun.

"I‰Ûªve seen some races on TV and it is very fast at Monza! Of course, everything is different for me on this CBR ‰ÛÒ 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," he concluded.

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.

Top Image: Jonathan Rea will look to continue his good form this weekend at Monza
Credit: Honda Racing

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