WorldSBK

Jonathan Rea is ready for season… before first WorldSBK test of 2020

Jonathan Rea is raring to go well ahead of the 2020 WorldSBK season as Kawasaki prepares for its first and only European test of the pre-season

Jonathan Rea says he simply needs to confirm the progress made during the tail end of 2019 during the opening WorldSBK test of 2020 as he looks to pick up where he left off from last year.

The Kawasaki Racing rider swept to a fifth consecutive WorldSBK title in 2019 after overhauling Alvaro Bautista mid-way through the year and dominating during the second half. He heads into 2020 seeking a record sixth title in what he has hinted could be his last before retirement.

This week sees WorldSBK reconvene for the first time in 2020 with a two-day test in Jerez starring all five factory entries meeting together for the first time after Honda confirmed its presence alongside Kawasaki, Ducati, BMW and Yamaha.

However, Kawasaki will not then travel to Portimao for another test next week, instead preferring to head straight to Australia for the opening round on February 29-March 1.

Indeed, Rea suggests this is because Kawasaki – which dominated the final tests of 2019 – are already finely-tuned with the ZX-10RR and simply need this first test of 2020 to confirm its settings.

“It is super-nice to start the year with a test at Jerez,” Rea said. “We will try to continue on from where we left off last year, when were both fast and consistent. The nicest thing is catching up with the team again and putting all our ideas together. It is important to continue improving the base set-up of our Ninja ZX-10RR.

“We just need to confirm some different directions we took in November and then get ready for Australia. This Jerez test is more about understanding where we left off last year and confirming some things. We just need to keep an eye on the weather forecast, as it is always a gamble in January.

“We are as far south in Europe as we can be to guarantee consistent weather, but you never really know. Hopefully we can get some good work done. I will enjoy riding my bike again to set us up for going down under in a few weeks’ time.”

Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki raring to go

To a certain extent, there is only so much Kawasaki and Jonathan Rea can learn from the highly developed ZX-10RR with another test at Jerez in what will be chillier conditions that the riders will probably experience at any other time in the year.

This may explain why Kawasaki won’t bother with the final private test of the pre-season in Portimao, but it’s quite a bold move to skip an entire test and turn attentions straight to Phillip Island, which will begin with official testing and then the race weekend straight afterwards.

Rea was on lap record form last time at Jerez, but there will be some eyes cast over to Alex Lowes to see if he can close the gap to his new team-mate too.

Meanwhile, the team will get its form 2020 WorldSBK launch on February 6 in Barcelona.

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