Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has laid down a marker to his rivals with a stunning late time attack during the final track action of 2019 on the second day of the Jerez test as he also got to grips with a thumb-operated rear brake on his Kawasaki.

Despite tricky track conditions due to an earlier oil spill that had been cleaned up with cement dust, the five-time world champion notched up a 1m 38.397s using a Pirelli qualifying tyre to comfortably top the test timesheet – with the lap quick enough to put him inside the top 10 from the MotoGP test times from the start of the week at the Spanish circuit.

Earlier in the test Rea experimented with a thumb rear brake lever and different engine braking amongst other new parts for 2020 which left the Northern Irish rider content.

“Overall it was pretty good. I had good motivation for this test. Normally at the end of a busy season it is easy to get lost, but we focused on quality rather than quantity. We did a lot of back-to-back testing of things we had ideas to try out during the year,” Rea said. “Then we tested some new items and new ideas.

“The biggest thing was in my riding position on the bike and getting used to the rear brake lever on the handlebar, plus some different engine braking.”

Reflecting on his impressive late qualifying-style laps, Rea felt he could have gone even faster given the track conditions but with a dominant gap to his rivals he was satisfied with a strong end to his 2019 track action.

“At the end we could do a time attack with a qualifying tyre and that put us right there. It was hard at the end doing that, because a couple of hours before the session finished there was oil all over Turn 1,” he said.

“The track was compromised a bit but I still feel that we did a really good job at this test, both with our outright pace and also consistency. We are where we should be and I am really happy to sign off on an incredible 2019.”

Rea and Kawasaki restart pre-season testing in late January before heading to Phillip Island for the 2020 World Superbike championship opener which takes place between February 28-March 1.

 

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