Jonathan Rea feels he is as ready as he can be for the start of the 2016 World Superbike championship after ending the second day of testing at Phillip Island fastest.
The Northern Irishman's best morning lap was enough to top Tuesday's timesheets but it was the performance of his Kawasaki ZX-10R and tyres through a 20-lap race simulation that left him heading toward the first race on Saturday in a confident frame of mind.
“I'm as ready as anyone else,” said the 29-year old. “The most important thing is to get the first race out of the way and the same in Thailand. “[This weekend] We'll start to make a race simulation and now the new components that KHI [Kawasaki Heavy Industries] brought in the winter, we'll put it together, evaluate everything.
“It seems like the bike is working quite good. When we start to be specific with settings, I've been working quite deeply with my data engineer Paolo [Marchetti] to make the engine braking more precise, throttle mappings precise … something in the winter we never spent a lot of time doing. Now we're really making a race package. If we have to race tomorrow it's no problem. Maybe we can still make some steps.”
Before track temperatures increased dramatically, Rea's lap times through his race run never exceeded 1m 32.514s, with ten of those laps clocking in the high 1m 31s or low 1m 32s.
Despite the windy conditions, the Kawasaki man felt comfortable during his race run, with the tyre appearing to be in good shape even at the close of 20 laps at high speed.
“It was good because we did a true race run. It's always difficult when you make ins and outs to understand the condition so we have a lot of information from that. In the afternoon the temperature increased so it was difficult to make the same lap time as the morning.
“The most difficult thing was the wind. On the exit of T2 the wind was blowing the bike to the left but your body wants to go straight.
“We have the information now to understand the areas that we need to improve and pay attention. Generally the tyre was working much better than it did last year in the test. We had some problems with blistering. This year looks, certainly with this race run, good.”
Rea, who won race one and claimed a second in race two in Australia in 2015, was testing two versions of the new ZX-10R with two different swingarms through the two days. At the close of Monday, he felt the feeling offered by both were quite different, whereas a day later his team had progressed in making the two machines offer up similar sensations.
“To be honest we built two bikes pretty much the same. Anything production felt quite different, the bike was operating different, especially the balance of the bike was a bit higher in one bike than the other.
“Today both swingarms are giving similar feedback. They're both the same but just manufactured different. The biggest difference was the two bikes. What we tried to do was to make bike two the same as bike one by compromising the setting a little big, just in case we need to use bike two at any point in the weekend. For the rest we lost some time.
“One brake system the level was coming back quite far into Lukey Heights. We were changing all kinds of components to find the problem. In the end we had two brake systems behaving the same. Now we have two bikes that are more or less the same.”