Jonathan Rea completed a two-day test at the TT Circuit Assen in The Netherlands last Thursday following his podium at the circuit in race one of the third-round 2013 World Superbike championship event.
The 26-year-old Pata Honda rider from Northern Ireland got through a lot of work on his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, including the testing of a new fuel tank to optimize weight distribution and aerodynamics.
However, Rea completed his Assen Superbike test without team-mate Leon Haslam, who is recuperating from a broken leg sustained in a practice crash at Assen. The 29-year-old British rider had an operation to pin his left tibia and is optimistic about an early return to action.
Unfortunately, Haslam will miss this week’s fourth-round World Superbike event at Monza in Italy and the Pata Honda team has announced that he will be replaced for the two races by Japanese rider Kosuke Akiyoshi.
Akiyoshi rides a CBR1000RR Fireblade in the All Japan Superbike championship, a series that he is currently leading and which he won in 2010 and 2011. The 38-year-old from Kurume in Japan is also a three-time Suzuka 8-hours winner, most recently in 2012 with Jonathan Rea.
“I’ve just been chilling since I got out of hospital, really,” Haslam said. “I saw my physiotherapist and we’re getting a plan together but we need to wait for the swelling to go down before we can get to work. I’m back to see the doctor next week and get the staples out of the leg – then I can start some pool work, too. It’s a shame to be missing Monza, but the following race at Donington Park is my target to come back.
“It will be good to get Akiyoshi on the bike next week though. His feedback will be useful and Monza shouldn’t be too difficult for him to learn.”
–From Team Pata Honda World Superbike