Jonathan Rea will make an early graduation up to the World Superbike class this weekend at Parkalgar.
Rea has already signed a deal to ride for the Ten Kate Honda World Superbike team after a season with the squad’s World Supersport outfit.
But with team-mate Andrew Pitt already securing the Supersport title, Rea has been granted early access to a Ten Kate Honda Fireblade for this weekend.
Rea said: It’s going to be quite different from riding the supersport bike and I’m really, really happy to get this chance.
“To be honest, in was in the pipeline earlier in the season when the World Supersport title was looking like it was slipping away.
“But in the second half of the season I started taking it back to Andrew – until Magny-Cours, when it was taken out of my hands.
“I’m sad not to be able to finish off the year with my supersport crew – they’ve been brilliant all season and I really wanted to win the title for them.
“But we’ve only got two pre-season tests for 2009, so to get some additional time on the superbike before it all kicks off next season is the logical thing to do.
“If everything clicks and I can ride to my potential, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be near the front. Portimao is new to everyone, but everyone has also had all season to get their bikes working how they want, so I know how hard it’s going to be.
“I find it pretty easy to learn new circuits, but I’ll get to Portimao a little earlier than normal and do as many laps on the scooter as I can.
“The first session on Friday will be just getting comfortable on the bike so I don’t expect anything spectacular then.
“But I’ll be aiming for Superpole and looking to score points in both races.”