Jonathan Rea has ‘fresh mindset’ for Estoril return in Portugal
Jonathan Rea is aiming to improve on last year’s performance at Estoril in Portugal, which hosts the second round of the World Superbike Championship this weekend.
The six-time champion began the new season in sensational style at Motorland Aragon at the weekend, where he clinched a double - including a milestone 100th career success - to open up a lead of 12 points over his Kawasaki Racing team-mate Alex Lowes.
Rea was denied a treble in the third race at the Spanish circuit after he was knocked off the track by American rider Garrett Gerloff, but the Northern Ireland rider regrouped and battled back to secure an excellent runner-up spot on the new ZX-10RR.
The 34-year-old won the title at Estoril last year, but Rea wasn’t entirely happy with his performance afte failing to finish on the podium across the weekend.
Rea said: “I really enjoyed Estoril last year and I had a lot of happy memories of winning the championship there. But to be honest from a track point of view I was quite average.
“I never started FP1 in the right way so I always felt I was playing catch up and the weekend was getting away from us. And then I had a crash in Superpole,” he added.
“So, we will bring a fresh mindset and also with the new Ninja ZX-10RR, I am feeling really comfortable. At Motorland we had three different track conditions thrown at us and we were competitive in all of them.
“I am optimistic because we have worked on some of the weaker aspects and the characteristics that Estoril has - the turning, really stopping and changing direction.
“So I think the benefits of that will show through when we go there.”
On Friday, Rea was second fastest in the opening free practice session, half-a-second behind Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu, with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Eugene Laverty made an encouraging start to the weekend as he finished FP1 as the top BMW rider on the RC Squadra Corse machine in fifth behind Ducati’s Scott Redding, 0.9s down on Razgatlioglu.
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