WSB: Rea: 'This could be most important phase of championship'

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Jonathan Rea has said he believes the next couple of rounds of the 2018 World Superbike season will be crucial for this year’s title fight.

The three-time World Champion leads the standings by just two points as the series hits Europe for the first time this year having won just one of the opening four races.

Aragon proved a crucial point in Rea’s 2017 title fight as he got the better of rival Chaz Davies, who has won at the Spanish circuit six times in the last five years, but this year he faces a wider challenge as the new regulations close the field up.

Rea sits two points ahead of Ducati’s Marco Melandri in the current title chase with satellite Ducati rider Xavi Fores third just nine points behind the reigning champion

“Aragon is a great circuit and one that I really enjoy riding at, although at this time of the year the conditions are generally quite cool,” Rea said.

“Last season was interesting riding against the Ducatis, to see how the bikes had strengths in different areas. This season we will have to understand how our bike behaves and how competitive we can be - but I am optimistic. Step-by-step I’m starting to feel better with the bike and understand what is required to be fast this season. It’s important to be strong at Motorland, and with Assen coming right after, it could be the most important phase of the championship. Being back in Europe everything is more familiar and ‘normal’, so I am excited to see what this weekend brings.”

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing