In the fully wet FP3 session held early on Saturday morning Rea and Lowes finished first and second as the weather conditions changed completely from Friday’s dry and warm start.
In Tissot Superpole Rea was an impressive winner of a wet final grid position contest, making it four Superpole wins in 2021 so far. Lowes started from fourth place on the grid, heading up the second row riders.
Race One delivered drama from the start after all riders opted for slick tyres on a slowly drying track surface. This led to many early difficult moments for all and a few high profile falls.
Early leader Rea ran off track as he tried to keep eventual race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu in his sights, but he rejoined. Rea kept his second place on track after his long excursion down the hill at towards the Old Hairpin. He began to reel in Razgatlioglu for a time but was unable to make up enough ground and finished second, for his tenth consecutive podium finish of the year.
Lowes had a tough fight in changing conditions as he moved forward from a difficult launch to third, then fourth and eventually third again at the flag. This was Alex’s fourth top three finish of 2021, giving him valuable championship points and a celebration on the podium with his team-mate Rea.
Now both Rea and Lowes will face the ten-lap Tissot Superpole Race on Sunday morning, and finally another long race at 14.00 local time in the UK.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I was actually struggling quite a bit to be there at the front. The bike set-up compared to yesterday was not great and I don’t know if there was a lack of grip because the rain washed some tyre rubber out from the track surface. But I struggled to stop the bike and at full lean angle. It wasn’t turning the same. We had a bit of a compromise for set-up but nothing too drastic. Fifteen minutes before the race we were still wondering ‘would it be fully dry, should we use intermediates, or a normal race set-up?’ I got a good start but I was worried about somebody coming underneath me into Turn One because there was only one tiny, tiny dry line. I led the first lap then Toprak came past. After that I got unsighted at the top of the Holly Wood section and really lost the rear, quite aggressively. From that point I was nervous to go off the line and I was having quite a few moments as well because Toprak was riding away but I did not want to give up. I wanted to keep pushing.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “The conditions have been tough all day today. The morning was really wet and I felt quite good then it dried up a little bit for Superpole. It did not feel as good in the less wet conditions but in the race I got a terrible start. I think I was like eighth in the first corner. I have been good at starts this year but on a track like that with such a thin dry line I just had to stay calm. I was quite a bit faster than the guys in front but I just couldn’t get past them. Johnny and Toprak were gone so it was a case from then on to try and win the battle behind them. The rear was spinning quite a lot and I did not feel like I had too much grip, but obviously after the rain that can happen. I am happy with the podium, the first one since Aragon, and I kept a good consistent run, which was nice.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was an impressive ninth in Race One; Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 15th for the final point on offer.
Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) was 16th, just missing out on a championship point. One-off rider Luke Mossey (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) was 14th in Race One, scoring two points first time out.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 10, Wins 4, Podiums 10, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 103 (88 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 195 (153 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 31 (27 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 10, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 28 (8 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: 162 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 468 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 96 – second overall