Jonathan Rea fired up for return to happy hunting ground at Misano
World Superbike Championship leader Jonathan Rea is looking forward to the return of the Misano round in Italy this weekend after the race was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rea has fond memories of the Marco Simoncelli circuit, where he won his maiden WSBK race in 2009.
The six-time champion has chalked up eight victories at Misano in total, achieving seven of those wins since he made the switch to the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015. Incredibly, he has now won a record 103 WSBK races following his latest triumph last month in Portugal.
Rea has made a strong start to the 2021 championship, winning four of the six races at the opening two rounds at Motorland Aragon and Estoril to lead the standings by 35 points from Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu, with Aruba.it Ducati’s Scott Redding a further three points back in third.
The 34-year-old Ulsterman is exactly where he wants to be going into round three this weekend and Rea will be quietly confident of increasing his advantage at the top even further, at a circuit where he has enjoyed so much success in the past.
“I am excited to go to Misano especially after we missed the race there last year,” Rea said.
“It is a track that I really enjoy riding at; both for the circuit itself and the Italian hospitality.
“The area is incredible and I always enjoy spending time there with my family, by the beach and the sea. The food, the fans, it has got absolutely everything, especially this weekend as we got some fans back trackside which is going to make it even more special.”
Assessing his performance after the opening rounds in Spain and Portugal, Rea said the work undertaken by his team on tyre management in hot temperatures is paying dividends.
“The first few races have been good,” said Rea.
“We have been able to change the characteristics of our Ninja ZX-10RR at Estoril and it really improved the size of the ‘window’ and we will continue to try these ideas.
“We are right into the thick of the summer months now and I think all the work we have been doing last season and during the off-season, focusing on the hot temperatures and being easy on the tyre, is really coming into its own.
“Misano is a quite flat track and with it being resurfaced a few years ago it gave me a strange feeling when we tested there last year. But, we were still able to be fast. I’m looking forward to the challenge this weekend and seeing all our great fans back trackside again.”
Free practice commences from 09:30 BST on Friday, with the first race scheduled for 13:00 BST on Saturday. The Superpole race on Sunday is at 10:00 BST with race two at 13:00 BST.
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