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Jonathan Rea striving to pick up where he left off as World Superbikes returns to Misano



Jonathan Rea. Credit: Getty Images

Jonathan Rea. Credit: Getty Images

Getty Images

Jonathan Rea. Credit: Getty Images

Misano in Italy always holds special appeal for six-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea, as it’s where he claimed the first of his record 117 victories in 2009.

The Marco Simoncelli circuit hosts the fourth round of the Championship this weekend, when Rea is bidding to reduce the deficit to Aruba.it Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista, who tops the standings by 17 points.

Rea has had a chance to relax with his family during a break since the third round at Estoril in Portugal, but the 35-year-old is back in full race mode ahead of today’s opening encounter of the weekend (1pm).

“Misano is always a race I look forward to for many reasons,” said Rea. “It was the scene of my first WorldSBK race win back in 2009, which was very special.

“It is also more to do with the area around the track. It is an incredibly nice area and I always find some time to go to the beach; more recently with my family and the kids too. They enjoy that.

“Misano has a cool vibe to race weekend. Also the Italian fans bring something really special to WorldSBK. Now we can look forward to carrying on with our recent momentum.”

Rea enjoyed a strong weekend at Estoril in May, where he sealed a double on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, and the Northern Ireland star is eager to pick up where he left off in this afternoon’s first race.

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“We had a very positive Estoril weekend so the idea is to start with a good vibe, a good feeling, and keep working step by step,” he said.

“Misano is possibly one of the real summer races, so it should be quite hot. I am looking to see where we stack up on day one and work from there.”

Rea was third fastest yesterday in free practice, when the top four on the time sheets after FP2 were covered by just over a tenth of a second.

Bautista took the No.1 spot on his Panigale V4R ahead of reigning champion Toprak Razgatlioglu on the Pata Yamaha, while Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) was fourth quickest behind Rea.

Philipp Oettl impressed in fifth as he made his return on the Go Eleven Ducati ahead of American Garrett Gerloff on the independent GRT Yamaha.

Toome’s Eugene Laverty — the Championship runner-up back in 2013 — was 15th on the Bonovo Action BMW, with Scott Redding the top BMW rider in ninth position for the official factory squad.

Tomorrow, the Superpole race is due at 10am with race two at 2.15pm.

After this weekend’s round, another long break follows until round five at Donington Park in England from July 15-17, which is Rea’s home meeting.

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