Reigning World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli says he is already "playing catch-up" in the third round of the season as the championship heads to the first European round of 2015 at Aragon.

The Pata Honda rider has enjoyed a solid but unspectacular start to the defence of his WSBK crown with two fifths, a sixth and a seventh place finishes in the opening four races at Phillip Island and the Chang International Circuit in Thailand. The Frenchman is fourth in the riders' standings but a sizeable gap of 54 points sits between him and current leader Jonathan Rea.

The 32-year-old suffered a bad crash during pre-season testing at Phillip Island which meant he wasn't racing at full fitness for the start of the year.

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"Aragon is about playing catch-up really, because it's clear that we haven't been fulfilling our potential in the first races of the season," Guintoli said. "My physical condition is still improving and I'm feeling better than I was in Thailand, so that's all going in the right direction, but we need to improve our overall performance so that we can fight at the front.

"We're all working hard to realise the potential of the package, especially in the areas of engine brake and power delivery."

The 5.077km Hermann Tilke-designed Aragon circuit will feature a revised layout for WSBK's return, getting rid of the tight hairpin at the end of the long back straight and instead using the faster left-hander from MotoGP to bring the riders back on to the start-finish straight.

"Testing conditions were not very good when we were at Aragon in January but the weather should be better this weekend," he added. "It's a good track and I'm happy they've taken out the hairpin at the end of the lap, which kind of broke the flow."