With just under three minutes left on the clock in the afternoon’s FP2 practice session KRT riders Rea and Lowes were looking to move up the overall rankings, until a red flag was shown to stop the session to protect a fallen rider.
With just one chance to potentially improve their lap times in the three minutes that remained Rea and Lowes, like most of their rivals, did not find a faster lap but remained third and fourth fastest due to their morning FP1 session best laps.
Rea is now working on final set-up for an even better entry to the many corners at the almost stadium-style Estoril circuit to try and extend his championship lead after the three Aragon races.
Lowes spent a lot of Friday learning more about the new Ninja ZX-10RR on a track that the KRT duo has not testing at during the off-season.
Warm track temperatures well into the 40°C range have made the feedback from the track surface very different from when Jonathan and Alex previously raced at Estoril in the 2020 season finale, in October.
Final grid positions will be determined after FP3, in the Tissot Superpole session on Saturday 29 May. A 21-lap Race One will follow on Saturday and then the Tissot Superpole Race and Race Two will complete the Estoril weekend on Sunday 30 May.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The red flag gave us a chance to try something different on the bike. I am struggling on the last part of braking to stop the bike. Trail braking into the corner is an area we need to focus on to improve for Saturday. Everything else felt quite good - mechanical traction, the agility of the bike, even turning, which was something I felt weak with last year. I am just not comfortable on the brakes, but I am sure if we find this it will put us closer to Toprak. He is really in his own race at the minute but I feel like I am in there in the battle for the podium. We need to improve a little bit to fight for better positions tomorrow. It is quite bumpy out there, especially the stadium section, after the little chicane, but I feel the bike is working quite well over the bumps.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a good day. The track conditions we had this afternoon were a lot hotter than the ones we had for the race weekend in October, and a lot hotter than we had this morning in FP1. I wanted them to be hot to be honest, to see how I feel on the bike. I felt quite good, I used the same tyres as I had this morning to start the second session and was still able to go quite fast. Then I put some new tyres on and tried to do a longer run. I struggled a bit with a full tank, on the bottom of the suspension a little bit. I was going to ride right to the end but then the red flag came out, so I came in and we made a small adjustment. Even on the very last lap, on the same tyres I had been riding on, I felt quite good. We have a bit of direction and I feel a lot better than I did last October, so I am looking forward to tomorrow. I understand where I can improve my riding, especially in the second sector.”
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Lucas Mahias placed 16th today, while Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki rider Isaac Vinales went 19th fastest. Samuele Cavalieri and Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) were 21st and 22nd in the timesheets, respectively.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 3, Wins 2, Podiums 3, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 101 (86 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 188 (146 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 28 (24 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 3, Wins 0, Podiums 3, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 27 (7 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: 160 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 460 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 93 – second overall