Jonathan Rea will swap places with Kenan Sofuoglu to make his World Superbike debut at this weekend's 2008 season finale at Portimao in Portugal.
The 21-year-old will race the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR at the brand-new 4km circuit having lost the 2008 World Supersport crown to team-mate Andrew Pitt last time out. Rea has already signed to ride in WSBK for Ten Kate next season.
“It's going to be quite different from riding the Supersport bike and I'm really, really happy to get this chance, although I'm sad not to be able to finish off the year with my Supersport crew," said the young Briton. "They've been brilliant all season and I really wanted to win the title for them.
"If everything clicks and I can ride to my potential, there's no reason why I shouldn't be near the front," declared the BSB and WSS race winner. "Portimao is new to everyone, but everyone has also had all season to get their bikes working how they want, so I know how hard it's going to be. The first session on Friday will be just getting comfortable on the bike so I don't expect anything spectacular then. But I'll be aiming for Superpole and looking to score points in both races."
"It'll be very exciting to see Jonathan for the first time on our Superbike," said team manager Ronald ten Kate. "It certainly won't be easy for him, but at least it will allow us one more test session in preparation for next season."
Sofuoglu, the 2007 WSS champion, had already agreed to step back to the 600cc class with Ten Kate in 2009 - and says he is excited to ride the smaller capacity machine this weekend, after a tough debut season in WSBK.
"I'm really excited about getting back on the CBR600RR with the team that helped me win the World Supersport championship last year," he said. "I've been relaxing in Turkey with my friends and family and working a lot on my fitness - so now I feel strong to finish the season in a good position. We will see this as a practice race for next season, but Portimao looks like a very interesting place and I am really looking forward to riding there."