Despite topping the timesheet at the pre-season World Superbike test in Jerez, Jonathan Rea says his main focus will be on getting his racing fitness back up after a lengthy winter off as he steps up preparations from his world title defence.
The two-time World Superbike champion posted the fastest lap time on both days of the Jerez test, with a best time overall of 1m 39.809s set on regular race tyres – just two-tenths off his Superpole lap at the Spanish circuit set last October – and bounced back from a heavy fall midway through the second day.
Rea has left Jerez satisfied with a solid bike set-up in varying track conditions but has set himself a personal goal to meet in time for the 2017 season opener in Australia next month.
“I felt my own 'bike fitness' was not great as I have been off the race bike for so many weeks now,” Rea said. “I am looking forward to the next test to try and do a lot of laps. I need some more mileage to feel like I did during the season last year.
“It is nice to set such a good lap time at this time of the year but it is testing and I have never been the best guy for one lap. We have been able to make many fast laps in these winter tests, however, and we have found a bike set-up that has been working well.
“The grip level at this test was a little bit lower than in November but we have been able to find consistency as well. With the different character on the track we have been able to evaluate different rear shocks. Showa have been working so hard and I am really impressed.”