Jonathan Rea may have dominated the top of the times for Kawasaki at the pre-season Jerez and Portimao tests but the reigning World Superbike champion was also buoyed by the progress gained through its testing programme.

The four-time WorldSBK champion topped both winter tests for KRT, dominating the final day of the Portimao test by ending it almost one-second faster than closest rival Alex Lowes albeit with a qualifying tyre advantage, to send out a strong message to his opponents for the 2019 world title.

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Rea feels his pre-season testing programme with the new ZX-10RR has been a vast improvement on 12 months ago when the team were getting to grips with a new maximum rev limit rule and says he’s “ticked every box.”

“We confirmed the chassis items we tested at Jerez, and electronically we worked a bit better,” Rea said. “We started to work on our race performance. I was really happy with how I felt with a lot of laps on the tyre compared to last this time last year. I got to try a qualifier at the end of the day and that felt quite good and I was really fast with it.

“This test ticked every box, just a couple of little items we could have re-checked and gone over. But the priorities were done and we got to try some new Pirelli tyres as well.

“We came from the Jerez and I was still understanding the bike and the asphalt there. It made it difficult to understand the work we had done over the winter.

“But coming here we had quite a neutral platform to work with and a lot of data. Although the temperatures did not get into a perfect operating window it gave us a consistent effort over two days.”

Rea now heads to Australia for the 2019 World Superbike opener at Phillip Island, with a final pre-season test at the tack between February 18-19, before the first round on February 22-24.



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