In sunny but not hot conditions, which still raised the tarmac temperatures by around ten degrees from FP1 to FP2, Rea worked on making tyre choices for the races. Finding particular improvements in his front tyre feedback Jonathan is now ready to make final preparations in his quest to add to his winning score of seven races so far in 2019.
With a short lap of 3.660km at Laguna Seca the track is particularly ‘busy’ for the riders, making a strong set-up for race distance the main focus in the two 50-minute Friday practice sessions.
Haslam has not raced at Laguna Seca since the 2015 WorldSBK season, making his return to the unique circuit, nestling in the hills between Monterey and Salinas, potentially tricky.
Rea and Haslam worked well together to find a positive machine set-up and evaluate tyre options, accelerating Haslam’s early top-five return to one of the most challenging circuits on the entire WorldSBK calendar.
The final FP3 session on Saturday will be followed by Tissot Superpole qualifying and then the opening race of the weekend, over 25-laps, at 14.00hrs local time.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I feel quite positive after day one because we arrived very fast this morning. The temperature of the track came up ten degrees in the afternoon and it just changed the feedback from the surface. I feel the grip level dropped a little bit but we were able to be very consistent this afternoon. We tried the two options of race tyres and confirmed the front. I did pretty much race distance with the front tyre. Last year I struggled with that but it seems like this year has given us a huge step forward in our front feedback. We are just working and trying to find the right balance on the bike. It looks like we are in the mix with our rivals so we will try one small step tomorrow morning to try to improve the package.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “FP1 was strange because although it has only been three years since I was here, going down The Corkscrew for the first time, it felt like a whole new track again. We made a good step from FP1 to FP2. We spent a lot of time evaluating different tyres; both front and rear. I did not get the chance to use the tyre that both Johnny and Alvaro used at the end, which they both found some time with, so hopefully we can try that option tomorrow. It is step-by-step at the moment and until the last few minutes of FP2 we were only a tenth off the top, so it is looking a bit better.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) placed seventh today, and was second fastest independent rider on the day, while Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) put four Kawasakis in the top ten after one day of action in the California sunshine. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 13th after FP2.
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 22, Wins 7, Podiums 19, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 78 (63 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 153 (111 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 19 (15 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 22, 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: 134 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 410 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 84 – second overall