Jonathan Rea is optimistic he will benefit from a welcome return to home soil for Round 6 of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship at Donington Park following a modest start to the season by his high standards.
The six-time WorldSBK Champion is yet to top the podium in a campaign thus far dominated by defending champions Alvaro Bautista and Aruba.it Ducati, with Rea classified fourth in the overall standings after five rounds with four podiums but no wins.
Indeed, while Bautista’s 14 wins from 15 races ensures only one other rider - that being Toprak Razgatlioglu - has had the honour of stepping foot atop the podium this year, Rea has at times struggled for competitiveness at certain venues.
However, after a solid performance at Misano, Rea is nonetheless excited at the prospect of returning to his home WorldSBK round at a Donington Park circuit that has played host to six of his record-breaking career tally of 118 victories.
“Donington is a track I have been looking forward to racing at for a while now,” he said. “It is a special one in the season because it’s a home race, with lots of family and friends there. Growing up in the BSB paddock some of the same fans turn out now, just like they did then, so you feel like you know everyone.
“It really helps that we have had good success there in the past. This time of year the weather should be good so I expect a cool weekend with a lot of fans there.”
While Rea has pointed towards difficulties in extracting more pace from the well-proven but comparatively dated Kawasaki ZX-10RR package as an explanation for the lull in form, he is confident a recent test at Aragon will spur an upturn in results at Donington Park.
“It helps that we had a test last week, trying to improve the package of the bike. We had some positive results from that. Some things we can use straight away and some things we hope to see in the future.
“The target is the podium and it would be amazing to come away from Donington with a good haul of points. Standing on the podium at your home race would be very special.”