Jonathan Rea is in confident mood ahead of Saturday’s final Superpole qualifying and opening World Superbike race (3pm) at Donington Park after an encouraging performance in free practice.
The reigning champion was second fastest and only 0.039 seconds behind his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes on Friday, who has won the last six races in succession at the British track.
Rea clocked his fastest lap in 1m 27.966s on the Ninja ZX-10R and was clearly pleased with the progress he made with the set-up of the Kawasaki on day one.
“I am quite happy because we learned a lot of things in the first session. We confirmed a lot about the direction we have been going in with set-up,” said the 29-year-old.
“Also my riding style here is a little bit different. I am trying to put the Donington jigsaw together because I feel I have never cracked it. It feels like in the second session today I was getting a lot more out of the bike, which was a big positive for me.
“I feel really positive today and that we can improve again tomorrow,” he added.
“To be close to the pace here, especially to Tom who is super-fast and is the reference, is quite good. It bodes well.
“Today feels like such a calm day because in the last few race weekends we have been changing the bike a lot and today we have been chipping away with something we know, and it is working.”
Davide Giugliano was third fastest on the Aruba.it Ducati followed by Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes, while Leon Camier (MV Agusta) and Lorenzo Savadori (Ioda Racing Aprilia) completed the top six.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati), currently second in the championship and 42 points behind Rea, was 13th fastest.