After a whirlwind few weeks celebrating with his fans in Northern Ireland, newly-crowned triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea is back on track this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2017 series at Jerez in Spain.
You would be forgiven for thinking Rea would maybe relax a little with the historic third successive title in the bag, but the 30-year-old isn’t the type.
“It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks after Magny Cours, winning my third World Championship with the feelings starting to sink in,” he said. “The fans at home have been amazing, however I’m looking forward to getting back to business on the Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10RR, and what makes me motivated is simply that I have never won a WSB race in Jerez.
“I’m fired up for the challenge of the resurfaced track, so it will be very important coming to grips with the new tarmac and to understand our base setting. I would expect a strong weekend with a lot of travelling home support.”
It was just a year ago that Rea stood on a Jerez podium for the first time with third and second positions around the mile-long circuit, and if he were to achieve a podium this weekend he would equal Carl Fogarty’s record of 109 WSB podium finishes.
The race is on for second place in the Championship between Rea’s team-mate Tom Sykes and Ducati’s Chaz Davies, the Yorkshire rider just nine points ahead of the Welshman with four races remaining.
Although still not 100% fit following his accident at Portimao, Sykes will be looking to add to his six podium finishes at Jerez and take his 100th podium for the Japanese manufacturer.
Looking to recover from four crashes during the last round at Magny Cours is Milwaukee Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty, who would like a repeat of his 2013 results at Jerez when he completed a double victory riding an Aprilia.
“We have made big strides with the machine,” the Toomebridge rider said. “We take the positives and go again here at Jerez. With only four races remaining this season, we will work to end of the campaign in good shape.”