The on-track testing action is scheduled for Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 February, with race weekend to be held between 24-26 February.
With both the official tests and the opening round taking place at Phillip Island it is a happy memory of many previous WorldSBK seasons, as the 2023 championship adopts a more traditional calendar and running order than most recent years.
The 4.445km long circuit in the Australian State of Victoria provides some unique challenges to the riders and technical staff. A fast circuit in general, Phillip Island’s heavily left-handed layout places great stress one side of the tyres, making a consistent machine set-up particularly important in order to challenge for the podium places over full-race distance.
With some improvements found in the overall performance of the Ninja ZX-10RR during the winter, and with both KRT riders having won for Kawasaki at ‘PI’ in the recent past, the team is now looking to the official test as the final chance to make important refinements before the action starts for real.
The test days will feature four WorldSBK track sessions, as the headlining championship category alternates track time with the FIM Supersport World Championship. Local time at Phillip Island is GMT +11 Hours.
There will be little opportunity for the WorldSBK riders and teams to relax after the tests and races at the opening event, as the second round of the championship takes place at Mandalika, in Indonesia, just one weekend after the PI races.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is so nice to be on Phillip Island to start the year. It feels like a normal season and as it is the first official test of the year, that means we get to ride in our new livery. That brings a lot of motivation because the bike looks really cool. We will start to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I have good memories of this track from last year, so I have to keep working with my guys and hopefully we can have a nice couple of days working to dot the i’s and cross the t’s before race weekend begins.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “The conditions at this test will be different from when we raced here last November, so these two days are important to test if our settings are still working well. Then, as always, the focus will be on tyre life and having some grip to fight with at the end of the races. I’m excited to get back out on track as it’s always so much fun to ride this place.”
The 2013 WorldSBK Champion for Kawasaki, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) returns to the paddock in 2023, with young Czech rider Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) back for his second year in the top division of production-derived racing.
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)
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