New Kawasaki World Superbike signing Jonathan Rea will be hoping for better weather next week after a two-day test session at Motorland Aragon was hampered by unfavourable weather and low temperatures in Spain.
Rea, who has taken a break from pre-season testing to fly into Belfast for Friday evening’s Adelaide Motorcycle Awards at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, only managed a handful of laps on the second day of the shakedown on Tuesday on the Ninja ZX-10R, with the Ulster rider and team-mate Tom Sykes failing to complete any laps on day one due to damp weather and cold track temperatures.
The 27-year-old managed to test some gear-shift and clutch settings on Tuesday when temperatures improved slightly, but ultimately did not have the opportunity to clock up some track miles in anger.
Both Rea and Sykes will resume their winter testing programme next week, relocating to Jerez in Spain for a final two-day private shakedown on Monday and Tuesday before flying to out Phillip Island in Australia ahead of the opening round of the WSBK championship on February 22.
“To be honest we were not able to get any meaningful performance testing done but we managed to work on some ideas in relation to gear shifting and clutch set-ups for race starts,” Rea said.
“If I consider the amount of hours I have ridden with the bike it is not a lot so we need to work on our performance at the next test rather than on general set-up. We will work on getting the best out of me and the bike now at the next test in Jerez.”
Rea is one of the favourites for the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year award in Belfast after enjoying his best ever season in World Superbikes in 2014, winning four races on the Pata Honda Fireblade on his way to securing third place overall in the championship standings.
He will be joined by new MotoGP recruit and current holder of the Joey Dunlop trophy, Eugene Laverty, who will also attend the event this year.
Aspar Honda rider Laverty is on the shortlist of seven riders in the frame for the top accolade along with 11-times Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop, Alastair Seeley, Michael Laverty, Glenn Irwin and Jack Kennedy, who will make his debut in the MCE British Superbike Championship in 2015 after signing with Team WD-40 Kawasaki.
In all, 12 awards will be presented in front of a sellout crowd at the Ramada, including Team of the Year, International Road Racer of the Year, Race of the Year, Best Rider on UK and Irish Circuits and the prestigious Hall of Fame recognition.