Rea tips Imola to ‘change momentum’ in Bautista battle

A refreshed Jonathan Rea is ready to take the fight to Alvaro Bautista as the Kawasaki man bids to break the Spaniard's grip on the World Superbike Championship.
Rea tips Imola to ‘change momentum’ in Bautista battle

Jonathan Rea has his sights set firmly on a return to the top step of the podium in Italy as the 2019 World Superbike Championship resumes at Imola.

The quadruple WSBK champion has enjoyed significant success at the historic venue en route to those four titles, including double victories in 2015 and 2018. In all, the Ulsterman has collected ten podiums in each of the last ten WSBK races to be held there.

They are results Rea is eager to replicate this year as he looks to make in-roads into the sizeable 53 points advantage Alvaro Bautista has established following an unprecedented run of 11 wins in 11 races aboard the Ducati.

Having used the extended break between rounds four and five to focus on adapting his riding style to the revised factory Kawasaki ZX-10RR, Rea is excited to get back on track and take the fight to the dominant Spaniard

“I had a great few weeks’ rest at home, and I am recharged and ready to attack this mid-part of the season,” he said. “After four rounds we have understood and evaluated where we are and where we need to improve.

“We approach Imola trying to make another step in terms of my riding and also the performance of the bike. The circuit is incredible and I love racing at Imola, because it is steeped in history and from a rider’s point of view it is a fun track to ride.

“It is very unique with a lot of undulations and you really need to feel at one with your bike to push on the limit there. I am very excited for FP1 just to understand our performance, if we can be competitive, which I am sure we can be. I will work with my team throughout Friday to give us a bike to compete.”

Indeed, based on his previous success at Imola – including wins during his tenure as a Honda rider – Rea believes Imola can signal a ‘change in momentum’ for his title aspirations.

“I see Imola as a track where we can be really competitive and last year we had a great weekend, so I feel like it is the time in my season where we can try to change the momentum of the championship. Imola gives us a good opportunity to do that.”