JOHNATHAN REA has shown early signs that he will once again be the one to beat in this year’s World Superbike Championship..
The Kawasaki rider scored more than a few double takes topping the timesheet in a four-day combined WSBK/MotoGP in Jerez, Spain, late 2016.
The quasi-Aussie’s (Rea’s wife is Australian, so we’re claiming him as ours) hot-lap was faster than Valentino Rossi’s pole position time during the 2016 MotoGP round, though there were no factory riders at the test.
Rea took a lot of confidence out of the test, saying the team can go into winter “in great shape”.
“Having the new Ninja ZX-10RR has let us fix some of our weaker points, as our engine is a little bit stronger than before, with some extra RPM.
“That is always an added bonus.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) were also on the pace, finishing third and fifth respectively on the timesheet.
While the big guns are already in great shape ahead of the 2017 WorldSBK season opener at Phillip Island from February 24-26, Jerez also saw a number of returning riders like Marco Melandri (Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia), new rider Stefan Bradl (Honda) and those swapping manufacturers Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) continue to acclimatise to their new surroundings.
This comes before the 2017 WorldSBK season is set to kick off with the Yamaha Finance round, at Phillip Island, February 24-26.
Rea will head back to Australia with his wife, Tatia and two sons to spend the local summer shuttling between the family’s two bases at Phillip Island and the northern Victorian town of Bright.
Tickets for the Yamaha Finance round of the WorldSBK at Phillip Island are available through Ticketek, with a three-day general admission pass costing $120.
BarSBK passes, for undercover viewing locations at some of the most spectacular parts of the circuit, are $260, while adult single-day passes cost $30 for Friday, $65 for Saturday and $80 for Sunday.
Camping is available for up to four nights for $105.
Best of all, children aged 15 and under are in for free, making the event affordable for families of all sizes.