The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

26 Január 2023

Two Strong Testing Days For KRT

Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes restarted their pre-season preparations for the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship with a successful two day test at the Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto, between 25-26 January.

In contrast to some previous tests, conditions were consistently dry at the 4.423km long circuit in the far south west of Spain. With cool track temperatures experienced in the early morning and just before the end of track action (at 18.00) each day, the team elected not to ride for the entire duration of the available track time.

Rea was eventually the second fastest rider overall after setting 98 laps across the two day test. He posted a lap of 1’38.352, near the end of the second day. He was almost one second faster on day two than his already strong pace after day one.

Jonathan had a new electronics engineer, Sander Donkers, in his garage at Jerez with another addition to the team for 2023, Christophe Lambert, also now working alongside the established KRT personnel at Jerez.

Lowes concentrated on getting more comfortable at full pace on his machine and improving consistency over full race distance. He and his crew were satisfied with the results in this area and overall Alex was fifth fastest, despite not trying to go for a fast flying lap at the end of two very useful days of set-up progress.

Lowes’ best lap was a 1.39.175 and he completed over 115 laps all in.

After the completion of the Jerez sessions there will be one more European-based winter test for both KRT riders, at the very different venue of the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, in Portugal, between 31 January and 1 February. After that there will be two final days of official winter testing at Phillip Island in Australia, and the first points scoring round of the season will take place at the same venue on the last weekend of February.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been a productive couple of days. We didn’t do so many laps because of the cold track conditions in the morning, so we just started a little bit later. But the laps we did do were very productive. I really got on well with my new electronics guy, Sander. We also have Christophe arriving with a lot of experience. So the first day was more about understanding and communication, how they adapted the set-up to my requests and how I make my comments to them. It is only the first step but they had some really good ideas. We improved quite a lot in one area. From the chassis side, we had some items to test from Showa, things we had to reconfirm from last year. We were able to get our workload done. We also tried out some some development front tyre options from Pirelli. The track itself was in good shape on both days but it was a bit windy at the end of the final day. I am quite encouraged by this test but we still have a lot of work to do before Phillip Island.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a good second day of testing here in Jerez. We have got some new parts on the bike and I did a longer race simulation that I was happy with. We were consistent, just missing a little bit of performance on fresh tyres - but I did not really go for a time attack and try to push hard. We did a lot of laps today and I felt good physically. We had more of our test items to try and improve again in Portimao next week. I focused on the harder tyres and did a long run on the hardest front and rear options, to try and take some grip away, because the track is so grippy in the winter. It felt quite good, so I am very optimistic for the next test.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “The test was good. Priority number one for me was to work with our new guys. Sander our electronics guy working with Jonathan, and also Christophe, who also is with us this year. They have to get used to, and understand, our systems, strategies and everything. We have this test in Jerez, then Portimao and then we go to Australia. So we have to understand the base for our electronics side and the engine side. Apart from that, we also made a test with Pirelli, trying out two front tyres. We had some engine items that we collected information about and we will compare them again in Portimao, at a different track design. We also had a small item to check with Showa.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “The test was good for us; very productive. It has been quite a while since the last test at the beginning of December but at this test we had one main priority. That is what we worked on over both days and we found the correct set-up. We are more comfortable with it and in general this was our main limitation for some time. We finished the test with very good results. We were not chasing lap times although many people put in Q tyres in to go as fast as possible. We were not looking at that. We made a long run to check our consistency with our set-up and we confirmed our bike specification. We have another test in Portimao, which is a completely different track, and there we will re-confirm the items we have developed from the beginning of December. Everybody was positive about this test.” 

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was once more out on the Ninja ZX-10RR that he will race in the 2023 season, after competing in the BSB championship in 2022. He finished 17th overall on the final day. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was also out testing in readiness for his second WorldSBK season, finishing 20th fastest overall.

2023 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2023: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 118 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 245 (203 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)

Alex Lowes:
2023: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 33 (13 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: 177 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 523 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall