Jonathan Rea believes he is in the “best position he has ever been in” ahead of a new World Superbike season after completing his pre-season testing programme with Kawasaki. The Northern Irishman was second fastest behind the Suzuki of Alex Lowes and is confident that the preparation will pay off in Sunday’s season opening races.
“I am happy to go into race weekend like this, although we still have some things to work on. It is just a bit of an unknown really so I am just working with my guys on the bike and trying to focus on going as fast as we can for all 20-laps. I was able to do a long run today and was able to keep most of the laps in the 1’31s. I do not know how competitive that is going to be but for now it is a start and we have that information to work with. We have done all the testing we can do, so I am happy that race weekend is coming. All the anticipation and excitement is there but we do not have to wait long now. I am looking forward to the lights going out on race day. Definitely, this is the best position we have ever been in at the start of a season.”
Rea and teammate Tom Sykes have been evenly matched throughout pre-season testing and despite a crash on the final day at Phillip Island, the Yorkshireman is pleased with the performance of his ZX-10R.
“In general I am relatively happy and we set some good lap times at the end on used tyres. We have got a little bit of thinking to do now to decide our final direction for the race weekend and it is not a bad situation to be in, even though I had a very strange crash today. As I entered the last corner I felt OK but then I lost the rear quite easily. I tried to correct it and when I did it reacted and threw me over the high side. The boys worked really well and they were able to get out on the second bike, on a different set-up, so I was able to gather more information. Phillip Island is not ‘my’ circuit so to be so fast over race distance is promising. Credit to the boys and Kawasaki for giving me what I need. The Ninja ZX-10R is working well and if it does what I want it to then we can have a good race weekend.”