Jonathan Rea is expecting 'bigger challenges' for his Pata Honda team at Monza this weekend than he anticipates at other circuits on the World Superbike calendar this year.
Rea, who is coming off the back of his best result of the season so far with a runner-up finish at his Ten Kate team's home circuit at Assen in the previous round, will debut a new fuel tank in Italy to improve aerodynamics and enhance weight distribution on his Honda Fireblade.
He is joined at Monza by Japanese rider Kosuke Akiyoshi, who replaces the injured Leon Haslam.
Rea, fastest in the wet during the first free practice session on Friday morning, said: “It's always good to be back in Italy and at Monza, which is in such a nice area and always brings a really enthusiastic crowd.
“We had a two-day test after Assen which has got me even more comfortable with the new electronics but there's really nothing that you can test to prepare for Monza's longs straights and the horsepower that they require.
“It's a circuit that gives us some bigger challenges than others, but I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Akiyoshi has not ridden the SBK-specification CBR or Pirelli tyres before and is making his first visit to Monza.
“It is a very good circuit with lots of chicanes and high speed straights and it looks like a lot of fun,” he said.
“I've seen some races on TV and it is very fast at Monza. Of course, everything is different for me on this CBR – suspension, tyres and electronics.
“But I think the package is good and, although I might have to adapt my riding style, my target for the weekend is to reach the podium.”