In two tricky free practice sessions at Magny Cours both Haslam and Rea worked on finding their best possible wet weather set-ups and each made great progress on a track surface that started out damp and became fully wet in the afternoon.
The 4.411km long circuit at Magny Cours presents several tricky sections, particularly in the wet, but in his first race at Magny Cours since 2015 Haslam remembered both his racing lines and which parts of the track would be most challenging in the rain. His overall second place, earned in the less wet FP1 session, was followed up by being third quickest in the wetter afternoon practice session.
After experiencing an early and slow speed fall in FP1, Rea and his crew quickly got back to work in evaluating different set-up ideas and then started fine-tuning their full wet-set-up in the afternoon session.
Weather conditions are expected to improve in time for the resumption of track action on Saturday morning, and reach their warmest on Sunday. Tomorrow the KRT riders face a short FP3 session, Tissot-Superpole qualifying and then a 21-lap Race One.
Leon Haslam, stated: “It was slippery out there but it was OK in the end. This morning you just pushed as hard as you needed to. It was one of those sessions where if someone went fast, you went out and pushed a little bit harder. I think everyone was in the same boat. It was also just trying to gather information in case it is a wet race tomorrow. This morning was not fully wet in the end but this afternoon obviously was, so it was quite important for me to understand what the bike felt like in proper rain conditions. We also got to try the new rain tyre, which is very different. I feel we have had a positive day of collecting data and finishing inside the top three in each session.”
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Overall I am happy with the day because normally with the forecast to be clear tomorrow, and Sunday being even hotter, it is hard to be fully focused on building a set-up. We changed some things with the engine brake settings and we just needed to confirm them in the wet. This morning I was not so happy and this afternoon we worked to confirm something a bit better in the set-up. The bike is behaving a little bit different to how it has in the past in the wet, especially in how I am loading the front. If we should face any more wet weather over the weekend we need to work on stopping the bike in the last part of braking. But I was happy to be fast in full wet conditions. This morning there was a dry line coming up near the end so a lot of people went fast right at the end. It was a positive day.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) placed 12th overall and was eighth fastest in the full wet this afternoon. He hopes for improved weather conditions on Saturday to keep up his consistent run of podium finishes.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) used his well-proven wet weather capabilities to take the fourth fastest lap of all on day one. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) set some laps in each session to build confidence on day one but was 16th overall.
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 28, Wins 11, Podiums 25, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 82 (67 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 159 (117 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 21 (17 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 28, Wins 0, Podiums 6, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 45 (7 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 138 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 419 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 86 – second overall