Rea optimistic ahead of Portimao race

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In winter testing Jonathan Rea and his Ten Kate Honda squad have been the men to beat around the undulating Portuguese circuit and the 23 year old Brit remains in optimistic mood for this weekends race.

Rea wasn’t able to secure the results expected in Australia finishing fourth and sixth place, but on paper at least should be in a much stronger position to challenge at the very front.

He said: “I think we’ll definitely be in a better position than we were in Phillip Island. We’ve got a base setting that works well and out of all the tracks, Portimao is the place where I’ve done my most laps on a Superbike in my career.”

During the winter tests, Rea was not only the pace setter but seemingly made it look easy.

In the second test in January the team spent hours confirming and reconfirming the base setting and will arrive confident in their selection of forks, shock, swing arm and linkages.

“It’s a fun track to ride especially if your bike is working well so I’m looking forward to the race.

“It’s a long season so my first priority is to come away with two top five results – but obviously I’ll be aiming for higher

“I’m not naive that things don’t always go to plan – just look at the Yamaha guys at Phillip Island. The test went well for us but putting two 22 lap races together is a different proposition.”

But, Rea is taking nothing for granted and knows that there will be fierce challenges from a number of his rivals.

“It was good for me that Haga and Biaggi didn’t dominate in Australia but I fully expect them to be at the front in Portugal.

“Fabrizio and Leon (Haslam) will be there too. Leon has clearly got a good package now, he’s my friend and it’s nice to see him up the front.

“Like me he’s still got a lot to prove but hopefully the big three of Haga, Biaggi and Fabrizio can turn into the big five with myself and Leon!

“I’m looking forward to it, I want to go there and enjoy it – that’s important to me.”