Superbike king Rea set for Thai test

Superbike world title holder Jonathan Rea heads for Thailand this weekend. INLT 10-919-CON

Superbike world title holder Jonathan Rea heads for Thailand this weekend. INLT 10-919-CON

After a perfect start to his Superbike World Championship defence in Australia couple of weeks ago, Jonathan Rea(inset) and his all-conquering Ninja ZX10 Kawasaki will take on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand.

A few hours north-east of Bangkok, Buriram is the newest venue on the World Superbike calendar and one where Rea has fond memories as last time there on the Kawasaki he did the double beating Leon Haslam on both occasions.

Eugene Laverty. INLT 10-919-CON

Eugene Laverty. INLT 10-919-CON

Haslam has now moved to BSB but the other rostrum finishers will be there. Team-mate Tom Sykes was third in race one last year and will surly be wanting revenge on his fellow Kawaski rider at this one after a disappointing Phillip Island last time out as will Alex Lowes who, by his standards, had a terrible time in Australia. A podium this weekend would be a big bonus for the Yamaha rider.

Arguably Rea’s biggest challenge, though, will come from Honda rider Michael van der Mark and Ducati’s Chaz Davies. Whatever happens, Rea will be at the front chasing yet another double win.

Meanwhile, with the first MotoGP race only a couple of weeks away, Ulster’s Eugene Laverty was pleased to complete the Qatar test with no further injuries after a confidence-sapping time with crashes at the two opening tests on the Aspar Ducatis.

Unfortunately, Laverty was unable to complete as many laps as he would have liked due to the limited number of tyres that Michelin had available.

He didn’t get the opportunity to turn his progress into a fast-lap time, but his renewed confidence after some major crashes during the winter mean he can look forward to the start of the new season with optimism.

Eugene said: “We have to be positive because this is the first test we have completed without a major accident! I have got my confidence back and that’s the most important thing going into the new season.”