The Kawasaki rider got the better of new WorldSBK champion Alvaro Bautista by just 0.022s in FP1, before extending his lead to over a tenth in the afternoon.

While his pace was strong over a full race distance, something that’s let him down in recent races compared to Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Rea will have to contend with the Ducati rider in particular as Bautista looked to be the strongest.

After completing stints of 11 and nine laps during FP2, Rea said: "Like I said in the last races, we’ve been quite far from Alvaro and Toprak in terms of race time. At the end of the race, we’ve been struggling. 

"My only target is just trying to be there at the end, keep consistent, give my 100% and if it’s possible to do well then so be it. I try not to worry about them. 

"Alvaro’s already done his job this season and with Toprak we’re still fighting for second in the Championship. He has a big gap, but anything can happen with the forecast. 

"With my pace being good, we can fight at the front and try to take it to the last race at least."

Rea and Kawasaki on course for a first WorldSBK win since Estoril?

With Razgatlioglu struggling on day-one, Rea could have fewer challengers than normal as he attempts to win his sixth race of the year.

An early title contender, Rea and Kawasaki struggled as the year went on, which has resulted in the 35-year-old dropping to 113 points behind Bautista.

Keen to finish his season in style though, Rea acknowledged that he and the team need to be efficient when analysing their performance ahead of Saturday, while better turning is the main improvement that needs to be made.

Rea added: "I really enjoyed the bike from Lap 1, the guys did a pretty good guesstimate at the setup. Phillip Island is quite a unique track because, with experience, the more you try at this circuit, sometimes the slower you go. 

"I tried to start calmer, be smooth with the bike, not fighting the bike and things were working. 

"I just tried to be very clear with my comments to my guys to make the bike setup changes between FP1 and FP2 and the bike was good. 

"There are a few areas we really need to improve tomorrow. We’ll sit down tonight and analyse that to make things a little bit easier over a race distance. 

"A little bit more turning is top of the agenda, and also throttle connection in some corners needs to be a little bit smoother. We have to be pretty satisfied."