NW200: World Superbike king Jonathan Rea says Superbike favorite Glenn Irwin “can handle the weight of expectations”

Rea is a strong supporter of Northern Ireland’s best road race and is back on the North Coast this week to soak up the unique atmosphere, where he is due to take part in a Friday night chat show in the marquee home of the race paddock in Portrush. .

The Kawasaki factory rider, currently second to Spaniard Alvaro Bautista in this year’s championship after the first two rounds, is enjoying a time out before heading to Portugal next week for the next round at Estoril .

Honda Racing UK rider Irwin has won the last four consecutive Superbike races in the North West and underlined his pre-race favorite status with a searing 124mph lap in Thursday’s final practice session, breaking the qualifying record and unofficial dive under Michael Dunlop. 2016 lap record of 1.8s.

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Six-time World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea is a big fan of the North West 200.

And Rea – who comes from a family of road racers with his father Johnny, a former Isle of Man TT winner, while his grandfather sponsored Joey Dunlop – says Irwin holds a strong hand after an impressive debut in the British Superbike Championship.

“It’s tough because it’s a circuit that not only requires skill and a fast bike, it also requires a lot of strategy,” he told the News Letter.

“It’s very rare for bikes to go this fast for this long, so integration and tactics are very important.

“Experience is everything, but saying that Glenn [Irwin] has a great “short” record so far and he’s done an amazing job.

Glenn Irwin has won the last four Superbike races at the North West 200.

“It looks like he really clicked with his bike at BSB and he had a good start to the campaign.

“He’s almost expected to win, and it’s probably not nice to have that pressure there because the expectation for Glenn to be up front is high, but he’ll wait for that. him too.”

Rea also had a word for Alastair Seeley, whose two wins on Thursday night took his NW200 win record to 26.

“You can never ignore Peter Hickman, and Alastair Seeley is of course very interesting to the locals because he’s the most successful rider in the event and he’s an experienced North West 200 rider,” Rea said.

“So with Alastair’s success, coupled with the fact that he’s riding for a local team, it’s great and exciting to see him take on road racing titans like Hickman and Dean Harrison.

“It’s strange though because a lot of these riders have their own priorities for the year, and for Peter Hickman it’s BSB and the Isle of Man TT, and probably for Dean Harrison the North West is used. for a little warm- up to the TT.

“So it’s an amazing event for our local riders to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in.”

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