As one of only five riders to win a World Superbike Championship race this season, Jonathan Rea is determined to join the 'big three' in the fight for victories ahead of the remaining four rounds of the year.
Following a six-week summer break, Rea heads to the latest round of the series at the Nurburgring eager to revive the form that saw him climb to the top of the podium for the first time at Misano.
Clinging onto fourth position in the overall standings following a podium last time out at Brno, although Rea didn't enjoy his best outing in Germany last season whilst racing in the Supersport class, he has high hopes for his Superbike effort.
“The Ten Kate Honda package in Brno felt really good, so we'll just concentrate on fine tuning it for Nurburgring when we go out on Friday after this long break. The guys back in the workshop never stand still though, and I know the data boys have been looking closely at the electronics package - so there'll be some new things to try for sure.
“Although the result in Supersport last year wasn't so good, I really enjoyed riding at Nurburgring – it's got a bit of everything, including a couple of those first gear corners that I don't like so much!”
Indeed, Rea is determined to swell the number of race win challenges to include himself alongside Noriyuki Haga, Ben Spies and Michel Fabrizio.
“I've had one race win this year and, although it wasn't gifted and I rode well to earn it, it's not enough. There have been three guys on it all season and I want to be in that group for the rest of the year and finish each race on the podium. I'm really motivated to make that next step now and I'll try to start on that this weekend.”
Having joined Rea in helping Ten Kate Honda record their first ever double podium in Brno, Carlos Checa gave his ailing season a boost and is now classified eighth in the standings. The Spaniard is chasing a similar result in Germany.
“I'm really looking forward to getting back on the bike and continuing the progress that we found possible at Brno. I like Nurburgring very much – it's one of my favourite circuits – but we struggled to find the right grip levels last year.
“This year, with the new Ohlins suspension, you could say we are starting again from zero, but actually the faster parts at Nurburgring are not so different from Brno and the bike felt really good there. The chatter from earlier in the season is no longer there and I am feeling confident after the results in Brno.
“I know the usual guys will be strong, but we'll just work hard and concentrate on our own set up to get everything right for the race.”