It’s been a productive opening day for Buildbase Suzuki at Oulton Park, as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship heats up for Round 9 of the 2021 season.
After coming off the back of some great results over recent races, Gino Rea made his presence felt in Friday’s two Free Practice Sessions.
Rea, who slipped just outside of the podium positions in the last two rounds, finished the day off in P6 overall, less than half a second away from the day’s fastest challenger, Danny Buchan.
Having bagged a top 12 result, Rea made the cut into the all new Superpicks 12 line up. Therefore, allowing him to progress straight through into Qualifying 2 tomorrow, ahead of the opening race of the weekend.
Rea can certainly walk away from today with a positive mindset, achieving his best day at Oulton Park to date.
“It was a really positive day. The bike is a fair bit different to what it was when we were here at the start of the year. It was really interesting for us to try the bike as it is now after the last few rounds, and to see if the modifications we’ve made will work here as well.
“The bike was much easier to ride today than it has been in the past at this track. To sit in sixth overall at the end of the first day is a little bit unexpected, I felt really good on the bike.
“I did a lot of consistent laps by myself and hopefully we can continue on this form and keep working hard to stay in the group we’re in now.” Said Rea.
On Thursday it was announced that the master of the roads, Michael Dunlop would stand in temporarily to replace the injured Danny Kent, as he recovers from a crash at Donington Park which landed him in hospital with a dislocated hip.
The Irishman, stepping into a last minute ride and certainly performing on limited experience within BSB, ended the day in P23 overall. The Isle of Man TT Ace clocked a fastest time of 1:38.611, coming within 4 seconds of the top spot.
It was very much a day of learning and adjusting for Dunlop, who demonstrated more and more potential as the sessions went on.
It’s set to be a challenging couple of days ahead for him, but his extensive knowledge and experience for all things racing will aid him in achieving three strong results come tomorrow and Sunday.