The prospect of rain in the afternoon was clear before the first session of practice got underway at this 4.627km long circuit. For a time Rea and his crew had to work with his braking system before settling in to find a good machine balance and set-up in FP1, ending up fifth fastest and reaching a good level in their search for a strong dry weather set-up.
Having been ill at the most recent round of the championship in Motorland Aragon, Lowes arrived at this round fully fit and raring to go on his Ninja ZX-10RR. He was seventh overall after concentrating on machine set-up for full race distance in FP1.
In the afternoon the expected wet weather conditions arrived and although the track started to dry out eventually the lap times never got close to those set in FP1 this morning. Rea was fastest of all 22 riders on the slippery track surface, with Lowes 14th as he learned the nature of his machine in the wet, after facing very few wet sessions so far in his first season as a Kawasaki rider.
Free practice three takes place on Saturday morning, to be followed by Tissot-Superpole qualifying and the first 20 lap race of the weekend. On Sunday a 10-lap Tissot-Superpole ‘sprint’ and a full distance race two will end what is an eagerly anticipated first ever WorldSBK race weekend at KRT’s home round.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “In the end I felt quite good with the bike and found a good rhythm. This morning I had some issues in braking, when the lever was coming back too far, so the first half of the session was dealing with that. In the afternoon it was wet so we were just step-by-step finding the conditions. We have never ridden here in the wet so we were just looking out for those slippery areas. I almost got caught out in the afternoon when Maximilian Scheib fell just in front of me - and first of all I want to say that I hope he is OK. I was catching him and he lost the rear on the exit of turn five. I was right there and I got in between the bike and him, so I was so lucky. After day one I feel like we are quite prepared and I have experience in wet and dry conditions now. We know what we are dealing with.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I felt quite good this morning in the dry session. We used the same tyres for all of FP1 and we went well on them. We had a good test here so even though we did not get any dry track time in the afternoon today we feel quite good with the set-up of the bike. In the rain I tried some different settings on the bike but the track conditions were also drying up and changing so it was a strange session. I have not done many wet laps on the bike before so it was nice to get out in the rain. Now let’s see what the weather is like on Saturday. I feel great and three or four days after the Motorland race I was feeling completely relaxed. It is so nice to be here feeling good, feeling fresh, knowing I can attack the races rather than physically struggle for 20 laps.”
After the contrasting track conditions encountered in FP1 and FP2 Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 13th overall and the leading independent Kawasaki rider. Former WorldSSP championship regular Valentin Debise (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) was 22nd after just one dry session of his first WorldSBK race weekend. The luckless Maximilian Scheib (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was the rider who fell just in front of Rea in the wet afternoon session, suffering a separated AC joint in his right shoulder and being declared unfit to continue.
2020 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
2020: Races 15, Wins 8, Podiums 13, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 96 (81 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 181 (139 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 26 (22 for Kawasaki)
2020: Races: 15, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 22 (2 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
7 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
5 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018 & 2019)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 155 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 448 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 91 – second overall