Jonathan Rea believes he has numerous threats to his World Superbike championship crown in 2020 and is eager to assess his competition in race trim over the opening rounds.

The Kawasaki rider notched up his fifth consecutive WorldSBK crown last year and goes into this season as strong favourite to maintain his title-winning run.

While his biggest rival from last season Alvaro Bautista leaves Ducati to spearhead the new Honda team alongside Rea’s former team-mate Leon Haslam, ex-MotoGP star and 2019 BSB champion Scott Redding debuts in WorldSBK this year with Racing Ducati.

Rea’s other main challenger in recent seasons Chaz Davies sticks with the factory Ducati squad, while Rea’s former protégé Toprak Razgatlioglu has broken Kawasaki ranks to join the factory Yamaha team next to Michael van der Mark with Alex Lowes joining Rea at the defending world champions.

With a number of uncertainties going into the new season, the Northern Irish rider feels he could be fighting against “four of five” title contenders.

“Everyone starts from zero and that’s the beauty of the off-season as there are a lot of the same riders but at different teams or new riders so it is always exciting,” Rea said.

“It is going to be a competitive season and it looks like there are four or five guys who look like they can legitimately fight for a championship but you always need five or so races to find out where they are.”

Rea insists he won’t change his winning approach which has resulted in five consecutive World Superbike titles, including a fightback against Alvaro Bautista when the Spaniard stormed to 10 consecutive wins at the start of the 2019 season.

“I will approach this championship like I did the last few and work step-by-step, so let’s see, the target of course is to try to win but we need to survive the first few races and be in the fight,” he said. “I am excited to go down under and get some nice warm weather in my bones.

“It is pretty much a local race for me with my wife being from Cowes so I am looking forward to getting out there with my family and getting some down time before the race.”

Having topped the rain-hit Jerez test despite notching up just 19 laps, Rea will complete a private test with Kawasaki at Circuit de Catalunya next week before heading to Australia for the final World Superbike pre-season test (February 24-25) and opening round at Phillip Island (February 28-March 1).