Gino Rea gutted after Le Mans podium challenge ends early
Gino Rea was gutted after his hopes of claiming a shock maiden Moto2 rostrum were wrecked by home crowd favourite Johann Zarco in Le Mans last weekend.
The former World Supersport winner has had a tough switch to the Moto2 class having struggled on the Gresini Moriwaki machine in the first three races.
The Italian squad switched to the Suter chassis ahead of the Le Mans weekend but having had no testing, Rea qualified down in 24th place.
The Londoner though produced a magnificent early charge in wet conditions on Sunday to surge instantly into a podium challenge with British duo Scott Redding and Bradley Smith.
Rea’s hopes were ended on lap eight though when he tumbled out at the fast first corner, having had his front wheel clipped following an aggressive move by Zarco.
Rea told MCN: “When you have an opportunity like that to run at the front and fight for a podium it is soul-destroying for somebody else to take it away. It was just a dangerous move because in the wet you are still doing sixth gear at that point.
"It was wild and he didn’t need to do it that stage of the race. Luckily I wasn’t injured because it is so fast at that point.”
After a tough start to 2012, Rea said Sunday’s stint at the sharp end of the field had at least proved that he is capable of mixing with the world’s best.
He added: “With all the problems we’ve had with the chassis and getting that to work, it has been tough and I’ve not been able to show my potential. The big positive of the race is that I’ve finally been able to show what I can do when the package is competitive. I know I can be at the front and I proved it.”
Zarco later crashed out of second position while hunting down eventual winner Thomas Luthi, which put Redding on the podium for the first time since his second in Phillip Island back in 2010.
For more coverage from Le Mans, see the May 23 issue of MCN.