Jonathan Rea says he will come back fighting today after the World Superbike champion had to settle for second best at Jerez in Spain behind Scott Redding.
The Championship is back up and running again five months after round one at Phillip Island in Australia and it was Englishman Redding who stole the limelight with pole position and a debut victory on the Aruba.it Ducati.
The former MotoGP rider snatched the lead from Rea with six laps remaining and went on to wrap up a dream triumph in his maiden year in World Superbikes by just over one second, with Turkish rider Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) keeping Redding's team-mate, Welshman Chaz Davies, at bay to clinch the final place on the podium.
Rea, who has moved up to third place in the standings - 12 points behind new title leader Redding and six behind his own Kawasaki team-mate, Alex Lowes - is confident he can challenge the 2019 British Superbike champion in today's Superpole and second 20-lap races, which are scheduled for 10am BST and 1pm BST respectively.
"I think we can take a lot of positives away and it's probably our best Jerez weekend to date because we've been competitive and this is a circuit that doesn't really suit my bike," said Rea.
"We made a huge step forward from the summer test and I feel like we are now in a good area with the bike.
"I think I can maybe push a bit more in the beginning because the rear tyre stayed quite consistent to the end, and I feel we can improve the front of the bike with some changes in our garage tonight and come back fighting tomorrow.
"Now that we have done those 20 laps, I know what's in store tomorrow and I can manage the race a little bit better and aim to improve."
Rea, who qualified second fastest, led the race from the off and dictated the pace at the front until Redding eventually forced his way past on lap 16 of 20.
He tried to hit back but decided to settle for second place and 20 points after he almost lost the front of his Kawasaki.
"With about six or seven laps to go, Scott came through with a block pass in T6 and from that point I tried to retaliate," Rea said. "He was making some mistakes but he was stronger in some parts of the track, so it was hard to mount any challenge and I felt he was a little bit stronger at the end.
"He had a little bit more rear tyre and I was struggling with my front tyre. I had a warning when the front folded at Turn 2, so I decided to try and fight for my second position at that point because it would have been too much of a risk to keep going at the front."
Toomebridge man Eugene Laverty claimed the final Championship point in 15th place on his factory BMW after his team-mate, Tom Sykes, pulled out of the race with machine trouble.
Meanwhile, young prospect Eunan McGlinchey from Aghadowey went agonisingly close to qualifying for the World Supersport 300 races.
The Team #109 Kawasaki rider finished seventh in the Last Chance qualifying race, but was just 0.2s outside the all-important top six as he made his debut on the world stage.