European Tests Complete For Rea
Jonathan Rea took part in two sunny days of testing at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve between 31 January and 1 February at what was the final European-based session before the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship season begins in Australia at the end of the month.
The 4.592km long Portuguese circuit, located in the hills above many popular holiday resorts on the Algarve coast, is a very different challenge from the previous testing venue of Jerez, where the team tested last week.
Rea found that recent improvements in the base settings of the Ninja ZX-10RR race machine transferred well for the most part to the undulating nature of the Portimao track and was the second quickest rider of all at Portimao. He did not have a bike set-up to maximise his outright pace when using the softer tyre options but nonetheless ended the day with a lap time a narrow 0.009 seconds from fastest rider Alvaro Bautista, with Rea setting a 1’39.044 personal best lap on the second day.
With the European element of the pre-season testing schedule complete, there will be two days of official testing at the legendary Phillip Island circuit, on 20-21 February, before the start of the 2023 season itself the following weekend.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Our test was positive. Again, we were just step-by-step working with the new electronics guys, and the changes they made to my requests. So we have more of an understanding, a good understanding, already. Of course, it is still a work in progress. From the testing side today we had some development rear tyres from Pirelli to try. Last week in the Jerez test we had front tyres to test, this time it was two different options of SCX rears. The track was in strange shape because I was much better with harder compound tyres than softer tyres. Every time we put a softer tyre in, trying to make a time attack, the lap time wasn’t coming. From a chassis point of view we tried a couple of new items at this test that influenced the bike in a really positive direction, so I feel we have made a step. You never really know until the lights go out but I think that we have had a decent winter, albeit a short one. I am quite happy with our two days work at Portimao.”