Rea finished the two-day test in third place behind fellow Yamaha rider Remy Gardner and Nicolo Bulega.

Formerly of Kawasaki, with whom he won all six of his titles with, Rea made a quick adaptation to the R1 as he looks to enjoy similar success to what Toprak Razgatlioglu achieved with the Japanese brand prior to joining BMW.

Speaking after the test, Rea, who had never competed with Yamaha in a world championship, said: “There’s heap of history and whilst I’ve never actually raced with Yamaha before – besides a PW50 when I was 6 – my father raced Yamahas most of his life. 

“From TZs in the beginning to YZF-750s and in the latter part of his career, I remember in 1994, always seeing that Millar Racing Yamaha in the family garage!

“The team has a very family feel; my mechanic Uri has come across from KRT which is really familiar for me and that’s really nice, so I appreciate that. 

“Working with Andrew too, he is a great friend of mine from back when we were teammates in 2008 in WorldSSP; in fact, he beat me to the championship that year! 

“Working with him is a bit like working with Pere Riba: he has a racer’s outlook, approach and understands rider mentality. 

“From a technical side, I can see he is at a really good level and of course, that relationship needs time to build and build. I think we’ll be a formidable team that can develop the R1 to greater heights.”

The decision to have Andrew Pitt as his crew chief means Rea also leaves behind Pere Riba, who he enjoyed all of his Kawasaki success with.

Asked about the decision to move Pitt over from Andrea Locatelli’s side of the garage to Rea’s, Denning added: “That was a decision we made a few weeks ago; Andrew and Jonathan have a long-term relationship, starting from when they were teammates in WorldSSP and finished first 1-2 there! 

“They became close friends, they know each other personally and professionally and we felt that with the support that he thrives on in the family atmosphere of a team – what Pere and the guys created successfully at Kawasaki. 

“We wanted to create something similar and Andrew also has the most experience with the bike after six years with us, so it’s a natural fit. 

“‘Loka’ is completely supportive of that and he’s very happy to take a new approach with a new crew chief next year.”

Although he’s the most successful Superbike rider ever, replacing Razgatlioglu will be a tough challenge for Rea.

But the Northern Irishman is expected to be very strong in 2024 after making a shock switch of his own, something that excites Denning.

“I’m really excited,” said the team principal. “It’s a very short transition I have to say, from the emotion of Sunday and 24 hours later, taking pictures of Jonathan Rea sat on our bike. 

“It’s kind of surreal, almost too quick a transition – also for him, to be jumping out of green after eight years. However, here we are, they are the logistics.”