The factory Kawasaki squad has commenced initial testing on parts and configurations for its 2017 World Superbike challenger at a two-day in-season Jerez test and Jonathan Rea hopes to use the information gained next time out at Misano as well as next season.
The reigning World Superbike champion, who recently committed himself to a new two-year deal to stay with Kawasaki for 2017 and 2018, tested initial new parts and set-ups intended for next year's bike alongside team-mate Tom Sykes – who is yet to confirm his plans for next season.
Rea has been impressed with the early feel and response from the 2017 parts, improving lap times on older tyres on very high track temperatures, and hopes to take what the team has learnt back to the 2016 machine for round eight at Misano.
“The good weather meant we had lots of uninterrupted track time and the quite high temperatures which may be very relevant when we come to race here in October,” Rea said. “We focused mainly on the electronics side and other components in preparation for 2017.
“We got positive information for that and the main target was to test the new material. Lap time was not the main focus but we managed to be quite fast and consistent on old tyres, and we spent a lot of time on them.
“We gained some really valuable information in some areas for the next race and some benefits we will not see the result of until 2017. I want to say thank you very much to everyone for organising this test. It was logistically very difficult so soon after Donington, so thanks to the mechanics, team staff and KHI staff.”
Rea currently holds a 56-point lead in the World Superbike riders' championship over closet rival Sykes after the opening seven rounds. World Superbikes heads to Misano for the next round on the 17-19 June.