Jonathan Rea set for return to testing as resumption of World Superbike Championship edges closer
Jonathan Rea will be back in action with his Kawasaki team next week as he commences testing in readiness for the return of the World Superbike Championship.
The Northern Ireland star has been training hard at home throughout the lockdown period since the coronavirus outbreak took hold, but Rea will soon be reunited with his Ninja ZX-10RR machine for the first time since the opening round of the series at Phillip Island in Australia at the end of February.
He began his quest for a record sixth consecutive world crown on a winning note down under, taking victory in the Superpole race and a runner-up finish in race two to leave Australia in fourth place in the standings, 19 points behind his new Kawasaki team-mate, Alex Lowes.
Rea will test at Misano in Italy before moving on to Montmelo in Spain ahead of the anticipated resumption of the World Superbike Championship at the start of August.
“We’re setting off actually for Misano because I’m due to test there in a couple of weeks,” Rea told the News Letter.
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“I wouldn’t say we’re quite back to business but after Misano, I’ll have a week or so off and then we have a test in Spain at Montmelo at the beginning of July.
“The plan is to start racing at the beginning of August and I’ve seen a provisional calendar, so I’m really working towards that now.”
With a racing return finally in sight, Rea now has a provisional target to work towards, which should make all the hard work over these next few weeks feel a little more worthwhile.
“It was hard at the beginning because there was no end game in sight and I was training super-hard without a target. Then I got sick for a couple of weeks, but I’m back to feeling pretty decent again,” he said.
“I didn’t know if we’d be racing again or what the final outcome would be, but I just tried to keep my head down as best I could anyway.
“Now, it looks like things are coming back under control again, especially in the south of Europe where it was bad at the start initially in Spain.
“I wouldn’t say they have recovered fully but they seem to be out the other side and I hope now that the UK can be out of this soon as well.
“The calendar is going to look quite different but the plan is still to get quite a number of rounds in and we need that in order to have a decent championship,” added Rea.
“It would be ludicrous just to have a handful of rounds and then try and have a champion at the end of the year, but with the provisional calendar that I’ve seen, I think we will get quite a bit of racing done.”
While a reduced calendar is inevitable, Rea is still hopeful that enough rounds will be held to protect the integrity of the championship and ensure a worthy champion is crowned later in the autumn.
“We have three races every weekend now and the Superpole race may have less points, but there are a lot of points up for grabs at each round and a lot of points to lose as well by making mistakes,” he said.
“The key to my championships in the past has been to be strong every weekend and I think that’s important. Certainly, I hope we can have something like eight to ten rounds of a championship and in that situation, then you do have a lot of points up for grabs, which is good.
“It’s probably more important than ever not to make mistakes though, because it’s clear that we’re not going to have the full 13-round championship that we started off with at the beginning of the year - so let’s see.
“It has definitely re-lit my fire for racing because I have missed it - I miss that competitive nature and working with my team and that whiole side of it. I’m looking forward to it again.”