The forthcoming two-day test in Australia will give both Rea and Lowes the chance to make their final decisions regarding set-up in their Ninja ZX-10RR machines. With no new WorldSBK homologation for the machine this season, it is a case of Rea and his crew refining set-up ideas, while first time Kawasaki rider Lowes looks to find the optimum balance and race-long settings for his first competitive weekend in green.
After a European winter test schedule, which was adversely affected by weather at times, the team now begin their final search for both ultimate performance and race-long grip from their tyres at a fast and wide circuit, which is very tough on the left hand edge of race rubber.
Rea, five times a world champion for Kawasaki, has won five races at the Australian circuit before, while Lowes is looking for his first win at the 4.445km circuit in the State of Victoria.
The WorldSBK races themselves – one on Saturday and two on Sunday – will take place on 29 February and 1 March.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We have been really unlucky in the off season with weather so this test is more about building up speed and getting back in the swing of things. We are focused on trying to get the bike to turn a little bit better in these tests. I did not feel that our Phillip Island base set-up last year was great so we will revisit some other ideas we had. The focus is always tyre consumption at this track so at one stage we have to make sure we put many laps on the tyres and understand where we are. Then, treat the test like race weekend and try to get the best performance from the bike and feeling with the set-up. On Monday it will be a case of ‘waking up’ again and feeling good with the bike.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “There is a little bit to do because this side of Christmas we did have too many dry laps as the weather in Spain has been a bit wet. One of my targets compared to normal is learning this bike at a different track. This is a different track character compared to a lot of the ones in Europe – faster and a lot more changes of direction under power. So, on the first day of the test my goal is to learn this bike on this track. The guys in the team have so much information with the settings of the bike I am not going to be searching for set-up. What I have already ridden has worked quite well, so they know what I like on the bike. On the second day I will try to do some longer runs and work on the tyre life, which is always the number one factor around here.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “This is mainly a sportive test, because normally we have everything more or less done, especially as it is not a new bike this year. We have, already, more-or-less all the things ready. So it is a test to let the riders get their rhythm and set-up the bike for the race with two of the small steps we did during last winter and to make a proper race preparation. Of course for Alex it is even more important to make those two days of testing, as he has not had many kilometres on the bike. He will make good use of those two days.”
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
2019: Races 37, Wins 17, Podiums 34, Superpoles 7
Career Race Wins: 88 (73 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 168 (126 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 23 (19 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 37, Wins 0, Podiums 9, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 20 (0 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: 146 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 433 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 88 – second overall