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Rea “really happy” with Kawasaki tests compared to last year

Jonathan Rea may have dominated the pre-season tests but the reigning World Superbike champion was also buoyed by progress gained from Kawasaki’s testing programme

Jonathan Rea may have dominated the top of the times for Kawasaki at the pre-season Jerez and Portimao tests but the reigning World Superbike champion was also buoyed by the progress gained through its testing programme.

The four-time WorldSBK champion topped both winter tests for KRT, dominating the final day of the Portimao test by ending it almost one-second faster than closest rival Alex Lowes albeit with a qualifying tyre advantage, to send out a strong message to his opponents for the 2019 world title.

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Rea feels his pre-season testing programme with the new ZX-10RR has been a vast improvement on 12 months ago when the team were getting to grips with a new maximum rev limit rule and says he’s “ticked every box.”

“We confirmed the chassis items we tested at Jerez, and electronically we worked a bit better,” Rea said. “We started to work on our race performance. I was really happy with how I felt with a lot of laps on the tyre compared to last this time last year. I got to try a qualifier at the end of the day and that felt quite good and I was really fast with it.

“This test ticked every box, just a couple of little items we could have re-checked and gone over. But the priorities were done and we got to try some new Pirelli tyres as well.

“We came from the Jerez and I was still understanding the bike and the asphalt there. It made it difficult to understand the work we had done over the winter.

“But coming here we had quite a neutral platform to work with and a lot of data. Although the temperatures did not get into a perfect operating window it gave us a consistent effort over two days.”

Rea now heads to Australia for the 2019 World Superbike opener at Phillip Island, with a final pre-season test at the tack between February 18-19, before the first round on February 22-24.

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