Overcast but warm conditions for the first day of action at Jerez provided Rea and Lowes with an ideal opportunity to make their early preparations for the three WorldSBK races that will take place at Jerez, which forms the tenth round of the season.
Rea worked on several areas of race preparation with his technical crew and when he pushed to set a fast lap time of 1’39.670 he ended his opening day fully 0.399 seconds ahead of second placed Michael Ruben Rinaldi.
Rea set his personal best time in the afternoon’s FP2 session, as most of the top riders did, as maximum track temperatures only just climbed to over 30°C.
In the approach to this weekend at the 4.423 km long Jerez circuit Lowes’ hand injury meant he was unsure if he would be able to ride at all. He was passed fit and despite the pain from his fractured hand, he made strong progress in FP1 and FP2 to finish just one place outside the top six in a field of 24 riders. His best lap time of 1’40.352 was just 0.681 seconds from his team-mate Rea.
Ambient temperatures are expected to rise a little on day two at Jerez when the first 20-lap WorldSBK Race takes place at 14.00, after the final FP3 practice session and Tissot-Superpole qualifying.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We started with a new set-up idea that we had from these last few races in the heat, trying to take some of the grip off the rear of the bike, to create more balance. We worked with that idea and near the end of FP1 we went back to what we used to have. That confirmed that the new idea was working. In the afternoon we tried to do a longer run to understand my rhythm, to understand the tyre drop, and how the bike behaved. It was very consistent, especially in the last sector where normally you face a big drop in the fast right corners. The sector was very stable but the area where I am struggling the most is sector one. That is the main point of focus so we will check and see again tomorrow. What we did is not revolutionary, but it is a step.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “The pain in my hand is about the same as I thought it would be but the control of the bike and the pace on the bike is a lot better than I expected. The target of today was to see if it was worth the pain to maybe get an OK result and be competitive, and I feel I was competitive. So that is one box ticked. I will make some recovery tonight and hopefully, if I can ride in these kind of positions, then we can be happy with the weekend. In these cooler conditions the bike is working really well and I think that helped me quite a lot today. Up until Tuesday I thought I might be sitting watching the Ryder Cup golf this weekend but I was good enough to keep trying.”
Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was a strong 13th after the first day of action in Spain, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 18th.
Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) placed 23rd fastest on Friday and Lachlan Epis (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) 24th.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 27, Wins 10, Podiums 23, Superpoles 8
Career Race Wins: 109 (94 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 208 (166 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 27, Wins 0, Podiums 5, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 29 (9 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 168 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 482 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall