Circuito de Jerez is a 4.42km, 13-corner circuit that hosts both MotoGP and the World Superbike Championships. Having never ridden at Jerez, Finn was excited to learn this iconic circuit. “I tired to prepare for this race as much as I could. The Jerez circuit is the furthest from the XCTech Team headquarters in Barcelona so it’s not a track where we would normally test at” said Finn. “It was important to me to do as much track study as possible to get a good understanding of the layout and picking out as many reference points from previous races as I could to help get me up to speed quickly.”
Practice sessions commenced Thursday morning with Finn struggling to find good pace. “It was difficult for me to get comfortable with the bike and track.” said Finn. “I just wasn’t able to hit my reference points and with corners like the Sito Pons corner (5) which is an uphill, full throttle, blind exit right hander, it was a big mental block for me.” Unfortunately Finn would continue to struggle through most of the Free Practice sessions Thursday and Friday. “FP5 on Friday was my best session during practice. I was able to relax, get with a group of riders and let them pull me around the track. I was able to set a personal best lap time but I still had a lot of time to find for Qualifying Practice.
Saturday’s qualifying practice sessions would still have Finn struggling to find good pace. In spite of everything, Finn continued to improve his personal best lap times, “It was hard to put my free practice sessions behind me. I was really struggling to find the pace I know I needed to bring my lap times down,” said Finn. “Everyone, from my team owner Xavi, my manager Jose, even phone calls home to my coach Brain, everyone was trying hard to get me over this hump.” Finn would eventually qualify back row of the grid. “It definitely wasn’t where I wanted to start my last race of the season.”
Finn needed a good start and work toward the front. “It was probably the best start off the line I had all year” said Finn. “I got a solid launch and immediately made up a few positions into turn 1. The race strategy that my team owner planned for was for me to get into a group and set a rhythm. Then with about 4 laps to go, start pushing forward.” This strategy paid off and Finn eventually found himself in a two-way battle for 9th place. “Once I started to push, I was able to use the draft down the back straight and pass for 9th place into Dry Sac corner (6). I knew that I needed to focus and continue to push. I was able to hold off the attacking rider but he eventually took back 9th position under braking into Lorenzo corner (13).“ Finn would battle for and take back 9th position on the last lap. “I knew that I was pulling away from the other rider because the sound of his engine was a lot less then on previous laps. I knew that if I was going to guard 9th pIace, I needed to brake late and hard into Lorenzo corner. Unfortunately, I felt the front start to slide away under hard braking. I was able to keep the bike upright but that allowed the attacking rider to pass underneath me and get a good drive down to the finish line. Finn would finish 10th in the race and 11th overall in his inaugural year in the 2017 Spanish RFME Campeonato de España de Velocidad (RFME CEV)
With the 2017 RFME CEV season competed, Jonathan Finn will return to Canada for the off-season. “I very happy with my first season competing here in Spain against some of the best riders in the world. I am grateful to everyone who has helped me get to this point in my career. But it’s not over!” Finn will be making a formal announcement regarding his plans for the 2018 season in the near future.
Jonathan Finn competes with support from Canadian Tire - Cobourg, Arai Helmet Americas, Bickle Racing, Impact Safe-T Armor, VnM Sport, Sidi Sport, and SPY.
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