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The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

16 July 2022

500 Podiums And More For Kawasaki

The first race of the WorldSBK championship round at Donington Park provided podium success for Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes, giving Kawasaki its 500th and 501st podium finishes. Rea was a second after a dramatic 23-lap race which he started from pole position, with Lowes securing his first podium finish of the season in third place. 

In Superpole qualifying Rea took a new lap record of 1’26.080 to secure his second pole position start of the year. In a perfect pre-race result for the KRT squad, Lowes was second fastest in Superpole, thanks to his 1’26.353 pace.

A dramatic start to Race One saw Rea run wide on the approach to the Foggy Esses while battling with eventual race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu, and lose places as a result. He would end up in sixth place soon after this point and have to make committed passes to get back into podium contention.

During an intense battle with championship leader Alvaro Bautista, Rea would pass and re-pass his rival until Rea ran wide and went into third place.

With nine laps to go Bautista would fall entering the Goddards Hairpin and no-score. Rea was once again in second place but too far behind the leading rider challenge for the race win.

In securing this important race result for his 2022 championship ambitions Rea also took the all-time tally of Kawasaki WorldSBK podiums to 500, which the team celebrated in parc ferme with special pitboard logos.   

Lowes played a very cool long game in the opening race, fighting for the podium places early on until he was involved in a battle for the top five positions.

After Bautista had fallen Lowes was in fourth place, but with superior late pace compared to Scott Redding, Alex passed him going downhill into Craner Curves and made sure of his first podium finish of the year.

A few seconds after Rea had made it 500 podiums for Kawasaki, Lowes’ personal first of 2022 was thus Kawasaki’s 501st. This was also Alex’s 30th career podium position, and his tenth as a Kawasaki rider.

Track temperatures got well over 40°C today and even hotter weather is predicted for the final day of competition at Donington.
 
Next up for Rea and Lowes will be the ten-lap Superpole race on Sunday morning, and finally Race Two, scheduled for 14.00 local time.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “The Superpole lap was incredible. I got so close to a 1’25 lap that - as much as I was happy and convinced that it was going to be pole position - I was a little bit gutted that I didn’t get a 1’25.9. Nicer than anything is the crowd today. I saw so many people around the track on my sighting lap. That is so nice to see and thanks to all the fans for coming out. In the beginning of the race it was a little bit of a mess, to be honest, for the first few laps. I tried to get track position as fast as I could. I really trusted myself to go to the front. I didn’t see that Toprak would have that kind of rhythm. If I were to do that race again I would have just focused on staying behind him, letting him do the leading job. I compromised myself going into the chicane, and in the first lap I lost track position. Then I was fighting. When I did get track position I had Alvaro dive-bombing me every time, at the end of the back straight into the chicane, or on the brakes into the Melbourne Loop. I felt like, on my own, I could be OK. Then when Alvaro went down Toprak had much better rhythm and I had nothing left. I really struggled at the end with the rear. But to get 500 Kawasaki podiums is really nice. I know I contributed to a large quantity of them but it is something to be really proud of as a manufacturer to have 500 WorldSBK podiums, especially in today’s era when all the manufacturers are competitive.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “It has taken a while to get my first podium of the year but it feels good, especially to get it here at Donington. In Superpole, that was one of the best laps I have ever done. I enjoyed it so much. When I saw 1’26.3 I was like ‘that’s nice’ because I was expecting 1’26.7/26.8. So I really enjoyed that. In the race, when the temperature got up - and even thought it may only go up 10 degrees on the track - we seemed to struggle in comparison to the others. I didn’t have the speed I expected to through the race but I kept it to the end. I had a good battle with Scott Redding. He was smoking the rear tyre and I thought I was probably going to have more grip then him in a couple of laps. So in the end I had more grip, but it was a nice battle. I was able to save a little bit of tyre for the last few laps. It’s nice to be on the podium. Some small changes for tomorrow and I hope to do a little bit better.”

Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was a solid 12th out of 23 race finishers. BSB regular rider Leon Haslam (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) scored a point in 15th place. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), in his first Donington race, was 23rd.

2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 13, Wins 5, Podiums 11, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 117 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 226 (184 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 37 (33 for Kawasaki)

Alex Lowes:
2022: Races: 13, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 30 (10 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: 176 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 501 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 102 – second overall

                                                 #NinjaSpirit