Jonathan Rea will attempt to put his faltering World Superbike title rivals to the sword at Misano in Italy this weekend before the championship enters the summer break.
The Kawasaki rider has clear daylight in the standings following his commanding double in the previous round at Laguna Seca in the USA.
Rea now holds an advantage of 75 points over Ducati’s Chaz Davies with five of the 18 rounds remaining.
His dominant lead equates to three race wins and the triple champion is turning the screw in his pursuit of a fourth consecutive world crown, which would see the 31-year-old Ulster rider join Carl Fogarty as the joint most successful riders ever in World Superbikes.
After a holiday with his family, Rea is feeling relaxed and re-energised as he targets his ninth win of the season at the Marco Simoncelli Circuit near Italy’s Adriatic Coast.
“Misano is one of my favourite races of the season and this year we planned a holiday before the race with my family, staying on the beach with our motor home,” Rea said.
“It sets the weekend up perfectly as I feel recharged for the last race before the summer break.
“The circuit is pretty straightforward and has a mix of everything.
“Although it’s flat, it’s still a challenge to find a compromise with set up, so we will work hard on Friday to make sure we can be competitive.
“It’s important to strengthen our position in the championship. Our target is to keep working the way we have in the previous races and maximise our potential.”
Rea boasts a strong record at Misano, where he achieved his first World Superbike victory in 2009, going on to win four times in all.
Eugene Laverty, meanwhile, will be eager to build on his maiden podium for the Milwaukee Aprilia team at Laguna Seca.
Laverty finished in third place in race two after starting from pole and has been making big strides with the Italian machine this season, battling back form injury after a crash at the second round in Thailand in March.
Race one is scheduled for 12 noon BST on Saturday, with race two at the same time on Sunday.
Following round nine this weekend, the championship breaks for nine weeks, resuming at Portimao in Portugal from September 14-16.
Before then, an official two-day test will be held in late August.