One of the names touted as a potential team-mate to Remy Gardner at GRT Yamaha for the 2023 WorldSBK season, Gagne ultimately lost out as reigning Supersport champion Dominique Aegerter was given that seat. 

Set to stay in MotoAmerica and defend his crown for a third consecutive season, Gagne will have the opportunity to impress ahead of a potential switch in 2024.

Gagne, who got the better of former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci to secure his second domestic title, will be aboard the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing R1 at Portimao. 

The United States is already represented in WorldSBK with Garrett Gerloff, and although this weekend is only a wildcard appearance, three-time 500cc world champion Rainey is excited to see what Gagne can do.

Speaking to WorldSBK.com, Rainey said: "I’m very excited that he would want to do this challenge. I think Jake knows the track; I think he likes the track from the times he’s raced over there before. 

"I think his real bonus is bringing his team, the Attack team with him. I think that’s what is really going to give him the best shot at trying to do well. Taking that all in, we’re really rooting for him. 

"Jake going over there may be our best shot to really make a statement about what kind of level we really are over here, because in WorldSBK the bikes are all pretty similar from a national championship to the World Championship, a lot of the specs are similar. 

"Every team has their own different architecture as far as the way the rider sets it up with his team, the electronics etc. Going in, Gagne’s got a lot of confidence. I think he wants to do well for himself first, but also for everybody else in MotoAmerica. 

"For me personally, I think realistically he can get a top ten and anything above that is going to be all on him. I’ll clap whatever the [result] is."

Given the level in WorldSBK that has been spearheaded by title contenders Alvaro Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea in 2022, breaking into the top ten would be a very impressive result for Gagne. 

Tyre knowledge could be key to a good result, says former WorldSBK champion Spies

Another rider who has backed Gagne to do well is 2009 WorldSBK champion Ben Spies, with the American citing his experiences with Pirelli tyres as one of the reasons why.

Spies added: "This will be interesting for me because Gagne’s been riding really well. He’s been in the paddock for a couple of years with Honda. He understands everything, how it goes, and, more importantly, has a little bit of time on the Pirellis which are a step better than what he’s on now. 

"They handle quite a bit differently on the front tyre, which is good for the Yamaha. It’s all good. It’s nice that he has that feeling. It will be interesting because I feel when he was at Honda, he wasn’t riding at the same level he is now. 

"Not saying he’s going to come over there and win the race or something like that, but he’s definitely riding extremely well right now and it’ll be interesting. He’s got all his stuff worked out so there’s no pressure on him. 

"I don’t want to cast where I think he’ll finish, just because the competition is deeper now than when he was there. 

"He’s got some fast guys to go racing with. I think he’s a top-12, top-ten, straight away and then it gets difficult from there. Pace wise, he’s definitely a top-ten rider right now in my eyes."