Jonathan Rea says the prolonged hiatus between the opening two rounds of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship and this weekend’s third event at Assen represents an ideal opportunity for Kawasaki to regroup following a patchy start to the year.
The six-time WorldSBK Champion has endured his worst start to a season since joining Kawasaki in 2015 with just one podiums and no wins to show for from the opening six races.
After finding himself in an unfamiliar position battling in the lower reaches of the two longer feat are races in Indonesia - and crashing in one of them - Rea is on the back foot heading to the Netherlands.
Nevertheless, the Dutch venue represents an ideal location for Rea to get his season going having accumulated a record-breaking 17 wins at Assen since his 2009 WorldSBK debut campaign - more than any other rider at any circuit.
It’s a statistic not lost on Rea as he attempts to make headway on his uphill task to break down the sizeable 68 point gap to leader Alvaro Bautista.
“It’s exciting to go racing again because it feels like forever since Indonesia. In a way that is a good thing to reset after a tough start to the year. We have had two really solid tests at Motorland and Barcelona.
Assen is a great track for us to restart our season. It is a circuit we have had some success at in the past, it is a local round for Kawasaki Motors Europe. There are also a lot of travelling fans from the UK and the Dutch fans are incredible.
“The best moments on slowing down laps are in Assen, when you come around that last sector into the GT chicane when the grandstands are full. It always feels really cool to be on the circuit then. The plan will be to start strong in FP1 with a good rhythm, work on our race set-up and get ready.
“Of course, the target is to get on the podium to be able to fight.”