Jonathan Rea says he will continue to race and test the updated Castrol Honda at Portimao as he seeks to bring a tumultuous 2011 World Superbike Championship season to a satisfying close.
The Ulsterman has endured a frustrating campaign this year, with two wins being juxtaposed by inconsistent form on the Castrol Honda, as well as injuries, including the one that ruled him out of action for much of the mid-season.
Nonetheless, with Rea re-signing for 2012, Castrol Honda's decision to switch priority to next season has already reaped benefits, with a second win of the year coming at Imola and a pole position occurring at Magny-Cours.
Though a crash in France and mechanical problems mean results haven't reflected the renewed pace of the bike, Rea is confident a good result at Portimao will give the team confidence heading into the off-season.
“I really like the Portimao circuit. I made my World Superbike debut there in 2008 and just missed out on a podium, but I've had a lot of other good experiences there. It's been an interesting month since I came back from injury and, of course, the win at Imola was amazing. But we're still working hard on the development of elements of the 2012 bike, so it's a slightly strange situation – racing and testing at the same time.
“Magny-Cours gave us some different set-up issues to Imola, which just showed that it's not an easy process, and Portimao is another circuit with its own characteristics. While the testing and development work will continue at Portimao, it would be nice to finish the season on a high, so we can go into the winter in a confident frame of mind.”
Rea is currently 12th in the WSBK standings, seven points behind tenth place man Michel Fabrizio.