Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea warns the Crescent Yamaha team is not 'silly' and is relishing the challenge of Yamaha returning to the championship in 2016.
Both Rea's Kawasaki Racing Team and the new Crescent Yamaha team enjoyed a winter test alongside one another last week in Jerez, marking the first public outing by Paul Denning's squad ahead of Yamaha's highly-anticipated return to WSBK next year.
Even though Rea says he wasn't peering too much over at Yamaha and its riders Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli he expects his new opponents to get up to speed quickly and contest Kawasaki's dominance in World Superbikes.
Rea ran away with the World Superbike championship this season as Kawasaki similarly swept up the manufacturer honours in style.
“I try not to pay too much attention to them because we have such a big job to do,” Rea told worldsuperbike.com. “It's nice to hear the sound of their bike, because we've been missing that for quite a few years now, so it is great for the championship that they have come back.
“They have two very strong riders in Alex and Sylvain: one really young rider with lots of potential and the other mature and ex World Champion. They're not silly guys. It's going be cool because it seems like another manufacturer is going to be in the mix at the front. It's not just great for them, but it's great for us.”
The defending World Superbike champion says he sees the re-emergence of Yamaha as a positive pressure for both Kawasaki and the championship as a whole.
“Competition is what makes everyone move forward,” he said. “Hopefully it is good for the Superbike fans, to have two more guys up front.”
Commenting on the work carried out on the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R, the Northern Irishman is satisfied with the progress made at his first winter test, after missing the initial test in Aragon the week before for the birth of his second child, and feels the bike is a step up on both used and new Pirelli tyres.
“The 2016 bike is a lot different to what we expected,” he explained. “There is a lot of work to do to be comfortable. It is just about working and trying to make the same effort on every single lap to be able to give clear and positive comments to the engineers.
“I have already found a much better feeling with the '16 bike, which is encouraging. We are yet to do a complete long run, but I am really satisfied with our work on both new and used tyres. We have been able to be really constant.”