Defending World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea says ending the two-day test at Jerez seventh fastest on the timesheet is not an honest reflection of his pace and says he's still searching for a riding style which suits the new Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Rea used the Jerez test to uncover a base setting he is happy with on the new ZX-10R and as a result says he wasn't focusing on outright one lap pace, ending the second day with best time of 1m 40.856s – almost a full second off of team-mate Tom Sykes, albeit without a qualifying rear tyre.
Despite leaving Jerez not completely satisfied with the progress made Rea is confident his crew is on the right path of development.
“It is clear that the new bike has been developed more for another riding style and it asks you to ride in a certain way,” Rea explained. “So we are still exploring exactly how to extract the best out of the bike and we have changed many things.
“It was clear that when we arrived here the track grip level was much worse than the last time, so it required a little bit of a different set-up. Our testing philosophy this winter - testing big items and not getting carried away with the set-up - has really made sense here. It was the same track, same part of the world but a different character this time.”
After working on new fork suspension specifications as well as different engine and chassis settings Rea says finishing the test off the pace of his rivals isn't too much of a worry and is confident he's already discovered the outright speed to fight at the front.
“We are just using the tools in the toolbox now and understanding more about the new ZX-10R,” he said. “We have been working calmly and methodically and if the starting lights went out at Jerez tomorrow we would not be seventh.”
Rea and team-mate Sykes will now travel to Aragon for another two-day test on the 3-4 February before flying to Australia for the WSBK season opener at Phillip Island on the 26-28 February.