The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

5 May 2021

Positive End To Pre-Season For KRT

Official Kawasaki WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes have successfully completed their final pre-season WorldSBK test sessions at Motorland Aragon and are now ready to compete for real on the new Ninja ZX-10RR

After a warm and dry two-day private test at the venue of the first championship round Rea was fastest of all and Lowes the second quickest rider.

Rea set a blistering best lap time of 1’48.528 on day two, and also completed the second of two full race simulations. He and his team worked on refining the final set up for the start of the season, confirming the base set-up they will start the exciting 2021 season with on their new Ninja.

For Lowes, who set a total of 104 laps today, his best time of 1’49.182 proved the strong pace of man and machine. He will now put all the pieces together with his crew to start the year in the best way possible.

This Motorland test was conducted in near ideal conditions, and alongside some of Kawasaki’s 2021 WorldSBK rivals from Yamaha and BMW, plus some MotoGP machinery. Rea set the fastest pace even compared to the more powerful MotoGP bikes, with Lowes also ahead of the MotoGP prototype machines.

Kawasaki’s latest Ninja ZX-10RR features engine, chassis and aerodynamic changes for 2021 including a higher rev ceiling and internal front winglets that generate significant extra downforce at high speed.

The first round of the FIM Superbike World Championship will be held at Motorland Aragon from 21-23 May. It will be followed one week later by the second round at Estoril in Portugal, between 28-30 May.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am super-content with this test. We managed to tick everything off the list we had, which we prioritised with race simulations. I did one each day, at the time of day the races will be held - in fact we left them a little bit later, to the peak of the temperatures at 3pm. We expect the race weekend will be a little bit hotter than it is now. We have a lot of good information about those. I used both rear tyre options, so we have a lot of good information. Step-by-step we worked some more on my riding, some electronic items. But, more so myself, getting a rhythm and understanding how the tyre behaves over a lot of laps and setting up electronic strategies to utilise during the race. I want to thank the guys because they rebuilt the bike completely as we have been trying to understand where there has been some issues coming. So to rule everything out they have built me a completely new bike and they worked tirelessly. Kudos to all the team staff for this whole winter test programme. It has been very busy but I am looking forward to going to round one in a few weeks’ time and seeing where we stack up.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “That was a good test for me. One of the main targets for today was to improve my feeling with the electronics on the bike. We did two race simulations this afternoon in hot conditions when the track, in theory, has the least grip. We were trying to find a better feeling with the bike. Overall I am really happy. We didn’t piece the whole bike together but now we have a couple of weeks to check the data and put our favourite feelings together and start the party for round one! 104 laps is maybe not the most I have done on one day on the Kawasaki but I had a smile on my face for all of them, so that is the main thing.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “We have used two complete days here in Aragon and with the new rules about testing this is maybe a lot. But we decided to make good preparations for the first race and immediately after Aragon is Estoril, and then the next one after that is quite close. So we wanted to make a base and confirm some things from the previous test. All has been going very well. On day one we focused on testing and confirming these small items, on the chassis side a kind of link with a little bit different character that we have been testing all winter. It has been confirmed and we are happy with the result. Johnny is very happy. We also made the final points with the electronics, working a lot with torque delivery to give the best feeling for JR, and to make a long run with the whole package. Yesterday we made a long run with an SC0 rear tyre, and it was very, very positive. He was very fast and consistent, and happy with the feeling on the bike. Today we focused on making a fast lap time and Johnny made the fastest lap time ever in Aragon. He improved two-tenths compared to last year. We made a second long run on a softer tyre on the final day too. Johnny is very happy, he is ‘talking’ very deeply with the bike and we are ready for the first race.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a good test at Motorland and Alex was very happy. The conditions were fantastic and we used the full two days to make ourselves ready for the first race weekend. We simulated some parts of a race weekend, and of course several long runs and race distances were included. This is the time to fine-tune our bike for real races. We have a clear opinion about our bike in hot and slippery conditions and a clear opinion about the tyres. We are ready for race weekend after our positive experience over two days here.”

2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 99 (84 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 185 (143 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 27 (23 for Kawasaki)

Alex Lowes:
2021: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 24 (4 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: 158 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 454 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 92 – second overall