Jonathan Rea sends out early warning that he is still the speed king in World Superbike tests
Jonathan Rea continued at Portimao yesterday where he left off at Jerez on Thursday, at the top of the World Superbike time sheets at the end of an action-packed day one of a two-day test at the Portuguese track.
The four-time world champion put in a stunning 1.42.195 lap on his Kawasaki Racing Team machine to end four tenths of a second clear of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) with new Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista in third, six one hundredths behind the Derby rider on his first visit to the circuit.
All of Rea's focus was continuing to work on new parts on his updated 2019 ZX-10RR ahead of the opening round of the world championship in Australia.
Rea said: "Yes, things are starting to feel ok with the new engine. We have some extra power, which is always nice.
"The new specification engine is a step better than last year, a step in the right direction.
"These tests are about understanding it and getting a good base setting from which to work from. To be ahead on the time sheets puts us in a good place."
Ten riders yesterday were all within one second of each other with Eugene Laverty, who only had his first shake-down test on the Team Go Eleven Ducati V4 at Jerez, back in 12th position as he focused on chassis settings and finding the right balance of the bike, which is completely new to both the Toomebridge rider and his Italian team.
The last of the European tests continue today before the teams head to the Southern Hemisphere ahead of a two-day test at Phillip Island prior to the opening WSB championship round of 2019 with Rea beginning his search for a fifth title in a row.
Meanwhile, at Kirkistown on Saturday Scottish visitor Jamie Duncan was the overall winner of the SM1 class during the third round of the winter Supermoto series, winning the first and third legs from Lisburn's David McKee, who won leg two from Duncan.