Jonathan Rea says he is ‘ready to go’ for this weekend’s opening round of the 2016 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island after completing the final pre-season test in Australia.
Rea was right at the sharp end on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R as he finished second fastest on the combined times from the two-day shakedown, lapping in 1m 31.249s.
The reigning WSBK champion was marginally slower than team-mate Tom Sykes, who headed the times with a lap in 1m 31.097s.
Rea, who posted his quickest lap during the morning session on Tuesday before scorching temperatures set in later in the afternoon, says he is now heading into Friday’s opening practice on a ‘package I feel comfortable on’.
“We got pretty much everything done. It was challenging at times because the red flags came out while we were making a constant effort with some items but in general the two days have been pretty good,” said the 29-year-old.
“We had two different conditions; one cooler one on day one and then one very hot one with really high wind.
“That wind made getting across from turn two to turn three so difficult. All things considered, we ticked all the boxes we needed to and we managed to do a race simulation this morning.
“We are ready to go into the race weekend with a package I feel comfortable on,” he added.
“I am just super-excited because even though it is not that long a winter in World Superbikes, it feels like forever since the final race of last year in Qatar.
“I just want to see the lights go out and get stuck in for 22 laps at one of the best circuits in the world.”
World Superbike newcomer Fabio Menghi was airlifted to hospital in Melbourne following a crash at Turn 11 in the opening session on Tuesday on his VFT Racing Ducati Panigale R.
The Italian was initially diagnosed at the circuit Medical Centre before being airlifted to Alfred Hospital, where a fractured pelvis was confirmed.
Australian rider Josh Hook was also amongst the fallers, coming off at the Southern Loop and sustaining a dislocated left shoulder.
Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, who won the title in 2014, topped yesterday’s times on the Pata Yamaha by a tenth and a half from Rea, with Alex Lowes third fastest on the second of the Pata Yamaha machines.
Guintoli, though, was fifth fastest on the combined time sheets behind Ten Kate Honda’s Michael van der Mark and Davide Giugliano on the Aruba.it Ducati, who were fourth and third fastest respectively on the heels of Kawasaki pair Sykes and Rea.
Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres was sixth quickest with former MotoGP star Nicky Hayden a solid seventh (Ten Kate Honda).
Race one will be held on Saturday (4am GMT) with race two scheduled for the same time early on Sunday morning.
WSBK test, Phillip Island, combined times:
1. T Sykes, GBR, Kawasaki Racing Team, 1’31.097; 2. J Rea, GBR, Kawasaki Racing Team, 1’31.249; 3. D Giugliano, ITA, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, 1’31.400, 4. M van der Mark, NED, Honda World Superbike Team, 1’31.458; 5. S Guintoli, FRA, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team, 1’31.473; 6. J Torres, ESP, Althea BMW Racing Team, 1’31.526; 7. N Hayden, USA, Honda World Superbike Team, 1’31.558; 8. A Lowes, GBR, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team, 1’31.620; 9. X Fores, ESP, Barni Racing Team, 1’31.661; 10. C Davies, GBR, Aruba.it Racing– Ducati, 1’31.678.