Honda Racing's Jonathan Rea returns to the scene of his most recent World Superbike victory last September at Imola in Italy brimming with confidence.
The Ulster rider, who narrowly missed out on a rostrum finish at the opening round of the championship a month ago at Phillip Island in Australia, is itching to get started following a refreshing break at his home on the Isle of Man.
Rea – seventh in race one in Australia – has fond memories of Imola, where he bounced back in spectacular style in 2011 to stand on the top step following a long period on the sidelines as a result of a wrist injury sustained in a crash at Misano, which effectively shattered his world title dreams.
However, his injury nightmare is firmly in the past and Rea is 'excited' at the prospect of this weekend's race on the works Honda CBR1000RR.
“I can't tell you how excited I am at the prospect of riding my bike again this weekend. It seems like a lifetime since the opening round in Phillip Island so I'm raring to go again at Imola,” he said.
“I love racing in Italy – the food, the culture, everything about it is special – and Imola has some pretty special memories for me, especially winning last year after a long injury lay-off.
“That was the first time we rolled out on the ride-by-wire system last year and we've done a lot of work on it since then, so it'll be really interesting to benchmark where we are against our performance last season,” he added.
“I've been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of research since Phillip Island and I'm looking forward to putting what I've learned into practice this weekend.”