Gino Rea hailed his maiden Moto2 podium as ‘amazing’ after he fought for a shock victory throughout a rain-soaked Sepang clash in Malaysia yesterday.
The Gresini Suter rider finished third behind experienced Alex de Angelis and wet weather specialist Anthony West to score an unlikely podium in what has been a tough and challenging debut season in Moto2.
Rea has struggled to be competitive in the dry with his Gresini Suter machine hard to set-up running Showa suspension.
With no reference or data to check at each circuit, Rea has struggled to even make the top 20 in some races in 2012, but with rain conditions levelling out the playing field, he was able to show more of his true potential in the Far East.
As torrential rain hammered down on the Sepang International Circui, Rea seized a rare opportunity to shine and he quickly went from 22nd on the grid to challenging for the lead.
The Londoner was locked in a nail-biting fight with de Angelis and West and with conditions worsening, Rea decided to hit the front in case the race was red flagged.
He had just swept into the lead when Race Direction halted the race on safety grounds, with visibility becoming increasingly harder.
The result was counted back to the standings at the end of lap 15 and Rea dropped back to third.
The disappointment of seeing a stunning maiden win slip from his grasp was quickly forgotten as he toasted his first podium since switching from the World Supersport series.
He told MCN: “I knew I could do it in the wet. I was having a few big moments and drifting with two wheels off the throttle but it was probably my easiest race of the year. I don't mind the bike moving around, even if it does make it harder to stay on it. Being at the front also helps make it feel easier.”
When the red flags were shown it was clear that Rea, West and de Angelis weren't 100% certain who had taken the victory in the most mentally demanding conditions of the season.
Rea admitted he thought a dream win was initially his and he added: “I did think I’d won it at one point when I saw the red flag was towards the end of that lap. When I pulled in the control tower with all the positions on it showed number eight was at number one and I got a bit excited. When I got back to Parc Ferme I pulled up to number one but they told me it was number three. I was a bit disappointed because it would have been incredible to get my first win but at the same time it is an amazing feeling to get my first podium. It has been a very difficult year and we haven’t managed to get the bike working how I need it in the dry at all. It has been hard to keep the faith but when it is wet you can ride around the problems and I have a good feeling and don’t mind the bike moving. I’ve been waiting all year for this chance to show it in the wet and show what I can do.”
For more exclusive thoughts from Rea included in seven pages of coverage from Sepang, see the October 24 issue of MCN.