Rea revving up to stay ahead of pack in US
The British and World Superbike Championships take in rounds six and nine this weekend at Brands Hatch and Laguna Seca respectively, with Northern Irish riders leading three championships across both series. That's certainly an impressive statistic for our wee country.
Ballyclare's Jonathan Rea is the runaway World Superbike leader. The 28-year-old holds a mammoth 133 point advantage over his Kawasaki Racing team-mate Tom Sykes and on current form - 11 wins and five second placed finishes from the opening 16 races - he is on course to wrap up the title with three rounds and six races to spare.
Speaking ahead of this weekend's ninth round of the 13 round series at the famous California venue, Isle of Man based Rea said: "I want to win as many races as possible. From pre-season testing onwards our goal has been to win the championship and now, just after the halfway stage, we are in a good position.
"I have only ever raced at Laguna once because I was injured when the championship went there two years ago. I was on the podium in race two last year so let's hope we can better than with a top step on Sunday."
In British championship, it's the usual suspects at the front of the premier class, but reigning BSB champion Shane Byrne has been in dominant form of late on the PBM Kawasaki, winning the last four races without reply.
In the support classes, Ulstermen Glenn Irwin and Josh Elliott are current leaders of the British Supersport and Superstock 1000cc classes, with both gunning for additional wins on the Brands GP circuit this weekend.
Irwin took the lead in the Supersport class last time out at Knockhill by a solitary point and will be looking to increase that advantage with his Gearlink Kawasaki team, starting today in the Supersport Sprint race.
In Stock 1000, the quiet man of the class, Josh Elliott, has virtually blitzed his rivals this year on the Morello Racing Kawasaki. He currently leads BMW duo Hudson Kennaugh and Alastair Seeley by 37 and 47 points respectively.