As his 2015 racing colours were revealed at the Kawasaki World Superbike team launch in Barcelona Jonathan Rea believes he has never been as motivated going into a World Superbike season.
The 28-year old ended an eight-year involvement with Ten Kate Honda at the close of 2014 to run alongside Tom Sykes in the factory-backed Kawasaki outfit aboard the formidable ZX-10R.
The adaption process has been a quick one as Rea placed inside the top three at both preseason tests in Jerez. Speaking to Crash.net
, the Northern Irishman revealed the end-of-season change of manufacturers has provided him with fresh motivation.
“I wouldn't say it's the most confident but I'd definitely say it's the most motivated [I've been].” he said. “It's a completely different challenge. In previous years I knew what I was getting into.”
After an inspired last round in Qatar, Rea finished third in the 2014 standings, his best championship position to date in Honda colours. Now, with Kawasaki's full factory support behind him he believes he has the tools at his disposal to challenge for that elusive first world crown.
“I never struggled to motivate myself but I struggled to find something new to really believe that we're going to challenge for the championship when the bike stayed the same. Now I know I'm joining one of the most successful teams. Whilst the regulations are changing quite a lot I still believe the support from the factory is what you need to be competitive.
[With Kawasaki] you have a test meeting and the bikes turn up [along] with countless boxes from Japan with new parts to test. That's motivating for me as I've never had that before.”
The 15-time race winner pointed to his relationship with his team and, in particular, new crew chief Pere Riba, as a reason for his quick adaption to his new surroundings.
“Pere is really good because he understands the feeling of riding a bike. He's also very, very good at controlling the mental attitude of the team. Everyone's really motivated on my side of the garage. It's really exciting to be part of.
I just feel that my mechanics are so passionate about motorbikes. They come home from a race meeting and they watch races from different categories, classes and championships. They talk about bikes twenty four seven so it's cool to have that passion. We have fun together."
I knew quite early last year that this would be the direction that we take and from that point we all set up a WhatsApp group. Something simple like that but we're in regular contact. When I turned up at the first test in Jerez it didn't feel like a first day at school because it felt like I had bonded with everyone already.”
The first round of the 2015 World Superbike season starts at Phillip Island on the 22nd of February.
To read our exclusive interview with Jonathan Rea click here.