Jonathan Rea can only be disappointed as the two-day test at Jerez comes to a premature close, having never actually got started. The Northern Irishman was keen to continue developing the new ZX-10RR, but any ideas and hopes the team might have had remained just that.

“It’s a real shame not to be able to make the most of this test - admits Johnny - seeing as the riders and teams have made such an effort to be here, despite the difficult situation. With the new regulation, we only have ten days of testing during winter, and so we preferred not to go out yesterday and today. It’s a waste of money being here and not riding, but that’s the way it is.”

His thoughts turn to the last tests, or rather those held at Aragon in November, where the current champion got a first taste of his new steed.

“It’s difficult to draw any conclusions as we were the only team there, but I was fast. The bike is young and so we still need to understand and correct the engine character. I want to work with my engineer to make it smooth, as I like it, but we’ve definitely taken a step forward with respect to last year. I’ve seen improvement in terms of the aerodynamics too, and I would probably have understood more this week. The new fairing has better downforce and that gives you greater confidence with the front as well as better wheelie control”.

SBK, Rabat's Ducati features aerodynamic brakes from... Moto2

"I would have preferred Imola to Estoril, Dorna should take a cue from MX"

Back to the present, and the future, as Johnny talks about Tito Rabat, one of the most interesting new arrivals in the SBK paddock, and the fact that Imola is missing from the 2021 calendar.

“I know Tito a little, we’ve exchanged messages in the past but we haven’t talked here. He wants to battle with me? I wish him luck (he laughs). I’m really sorry there’s no Imola on the 2021 calendar, as the track and fans always give me the best feeling, better than anywhere else maybe, despite me never having raced for an Italian manufacturer. I really hope the championship returns to Imola. I would definitely have preferred Imola to some other tracks, like Estoril for example”.

Rea closes by mentioning the anti-Covid vaccine and offers some regulatory advice to Dorna, to combat the uncertainty of the current times. 

“I would like the vaccine as soon as possible, it’s not available in Northern Ireland yet. I think in this situation Dorna should introduce a rule that already exists in MX, or rather the possibility for every rider to cancel their worst weekend in terms of results from the classification. Look at what happened to Hamilton or Rossi. I was nervous last year too, because the championship wouldn’t have stopped if I were to have tested positive”.

Translated by Heather Watson

Pirelli, Barbier: “The SBK calendar is great, it will be an interesting season”