Kawasaki’s Rea and Sykes looking forward to Portimao

World Superbike Championship leaders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes are happy to be returning to Portugal as the series gets back underway this weekend after a short break.

The Portimao circuit did not feature on the calendar last year, but both Rea and Sykes have won in Southern Portugal in the past.

Rea won both races at Portimao on the way to his first world championship in 2015, while Sykes has tasted victory there in both 2012 and 2014.

Ulsterman Rea currently leads the championship by 70 points over Sykes and will be looking to add to his nine wins so far this season while Sykes is keen to add the his two wins and four pole positions.

Should Sykes qualify fastest in Portimao he will equal the current record of 43 held by Troy Corser.

“I’m happy to return to Portimao this weekend as it’s a race weekend that I really enjoy,” said Rea.

“The circuit has a lot of character and is fun to ride but in recent years the track has become very bumpy. It will be very important to optimise our set up to be strong for the full race.

“We had a great private test in the middle of the year so I’m sure we can start on Friday with a good feeling. Our target is to try and win two races.”

Sykes, meanwhile, was happy to be back in the saddle.

“I am looking forward to getting… some proper results in. We had almost another summer break in the season after Germany so I have had time to reflect on the year and I feel it is going OK.

“I need to work some more things out and honestly speaking I know I am capable of more. At the moment it is down to me trying to change my riding style and get a little extra from the bike.

“We will keep working on that. Portimao is a track I like, and where I have had some success, but the circuit itself is bumpy now.”