| 2.2°C Belfast

'I felt great': Jonathan Rea delighted with first test results of 2021 on return to bike



Thumbs up: Jonathan Rea is feeling good on his new bike

Thumbs up: Jonathan Rea is feeling good on his new bike

Thumbs up: Jonathan Rea is feeling good on his new bike

Jonathan Rea managed to get his first test miles of 2021 under his belt on Thursday at Jerez, where track conditions allowed him to manage 40 laps and gain some meaningful data with the new Ninja ZX-10RR Kawasaki.

Postponed by one day due to wet weather, the record-breaking six-time World Superbike champion saw track conditions improve enough in the afternoon to get some much-needed laps as the Kawasaki Racing Team gathered useful data ahead of the 2021 WSBK season.

Rea said: "It was a massive effort to stay the extra day at Jerez and get those productive laps in on Thursday.

"It was so nice to ride my bike again after what feels like such a long time. Our intention was to test on Wednesday, but bad weather put paid to that.

"The track had dried sufficiently by Thursday afternoon and we got to confirm some of the off-season changes. We focused on new engine maps and electronic settings and I had a good feeling with the bike, being able to understand the changes and give a lot of good information to the engineers.

"I soon got into the swing of things and I left the test very happy with what we had done and I felt great on the new bike. The work I have been doing at home also seemed to have paid off as well and I look forward to riding again."

Pere Riba, Rea's crew chief, added: "We are only allowed a maximum of 10 testing days and this counts as half a day.

"It was a useful test and we checked a few points we considered would be interesting for Jonathan to understand the 2021 bike development."

The next track outing for the KRT squad is scheduled for Portimao, Portugal on March 4-5 where Rea will be joined by team-mate Alex Lowes, who missed Jerez due to a slight training injury.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Rossi Dobson has joined forces with WM Racing for another crack at the British Talent Cup where he will also be on hand to help 12-year-old Cullybackey schoolboy Peter Willis learn the new Moto3 machine and the BSB circuits in his debut season.

WM Racing, better known in British and Irish mini bike paddocks as a team to help with development of young riders from NI, will continue in the British Mini Bike Championship 160cc class with 10-year-old Newmills rider Lewis Mullen, who is also set to gain valuable experience through the Vision Track Michael Laverty Academy for 2021.

Paige Mullen (8) will take on the Irish Mini Bike Championship in the BamBam series in her second season of racing.

Belfast Telegraph