A series of tweaks to the Ten Kate Honda between races has given Jonathan Rea confidence that he can battle for a podium finish at the team's home World Superbike event at Assen.
The factory-backed Honda team has endured a 'sluggish' start to the 2009 season, with pockets of good results by Rea, Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari being undermined by patchy consistency.
Despite a dismal outcome from the Valencia round, Rea remains the team's highest placed rider in the series, even if he remains some way down on Honda's leading representative overall, Leon Haslam.
Nonetheless, the three-week gap between races have given Ten Kate the chance to introduce new parts to the bike in the hope of taking the fight to Ducati and Yamaha, starting with their local Netherlands event.
Having tested the revised bike already, Rea is hopeful he can emulate his World Supersport performance of twelve months ago when he scored his first podium for the team.
“After what's been a sluggish start to the season, we needed to look at making some changes to the bike to improve the feeling. The guys have found some pretty positive developments back at base and I was able to try them out last week.
“The feeling with the throttle is much better now and that was the main area of concern. Assen is a great place, for a number of reasons, and I got my first podium with the team there last year. The circuit should suit the bike better than Valencia anyway, and we're all in a really positive frame of mind, so I'm really looking forward to the weekend.”