Pata Honda's Jonathan Rea has hailed fellow Briton Leon Haslam as his 'most competitive' team-mate since he made the switch to the World Superbike Championship in 2009.
Rea, who is poised to compete in his 100th WSBK
race in the second race at the opening round of the 2013 series at Phillip Island in Australia on Sunday, has consistently out-performed his Honda teammates after joining the class from World Supersport.
However, the 26-year-old believes Haslam, who switched to Honda from BMW, represents a different proposition.
“First of all I have to say that Leon is one of the most competitive team-mates I've had for many years, probably since Andrew Pitt in Supersport,” Rea told the official World Superbike website.
“I find the relationship with Leon to be really strong, we share a lot of data and on the weekend we can both test different settings to make the bike good.
“Right now we are working on different programmes on both sides of the garage, and it's always nice to have the possibility to check his data in case we're struggling, and vice-versa.”
Rea was sixth fastest overall during the official two-day test at Phillip Island this week, hotly pursued by Haslam as the Honda duo were separated by a few hundredths of a second.
He crashed at the fast second turn during testing and aggravated an old shoulder injury, but avoided damaging his AC joint further.
“I had a big crash at turn 2 in last week's private testing, which aggravated the conditions of the AC joint that got separated two years ago at Imola,” Rea said.
“After some x-rays I spoke with my surgeon back in the UK and he said that there's no further damage, it's just a bit weak.
“The guys are working very hard and there's still a lot of room for improvement.
“I wouldn't say we are confident right now but for sure going into the weekend with some testing put us in a much better place than we were at the start of the year.”
In the past, Rea's WSBK
team-mates at Ten Kate Honda have included Carlos Checa, Max Neukirchner, Ryuichi Kiyonari
and Hiroshi Aoyama.