Jonathan Rea is poised to become the first rider to win back-to-back World Superbike titles since Carl Fogarty in 1999 at Jerez this weekend.
The Northern Irishman needs to increase his series lead by just two points to leave the Spanish circuit as World Champion for the second time in as many years.
However, it might not be easy for the Kawasaki man, who has only added a couple of points to his title lead from what have been two difficult rounds since the season resumed at the Lausitzring last month.
With title rival and team-mate Tom Sykes and Ducati’s Chaz Davies, who is all-but mathematically ruled out of the title chase, on top form. Rea accepts he’ll have to play it clever if he’s to win in front of the large contingent of home supporters who will make their way from Northern Ireland this weekend.
“From last year Jerez holds very special memories so I am excited to go back there,” he said. “We had a very productive mid-season test at Jerez, where we not only get to refine our current model, we also got to work on some items for 2017. It seems like we are in a good way with the bike in races and this is the first opportunity I have to win the championship this weekend.
“If we do a good job we can achieve our target of being world champions. That is in the back of my mind but also we have to be clever, because Tom and Chaz are riding really strongly and I am sure some others will also be strong in Jerez. So we need to be prepared to set-up the bike well with the team and then what will be will be. I’ll just try to go out and have two solid races. I have a lot of support coming from back home as well for this weekend.”
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