Both Ninja ZX-10RR riders were fast in the morning session, with Rea relying on his FP1 time to set his class-leading overnight pace. Lowes went marginally faster than his early pace in the afternoon FP2 session.
Two days of final pre-season testing earlier this week preceded the first day of practice at Motorland, which allowed both riders the opportunity to concentrate on their final race set-ups. Rea’s best Friday lap was set very early in the opening session, as he had arrived at the track full of confidence. His best of 1’49.301 was 0.305 seconds faster than the rider in second place.
The track and ambient temperatures were higher today than those experienced during the recent tests, which introduced the element of evaluating tyre choices in readiness to face whatever weather conditions are experienced in the 18-lap Race One on Saturday afternoon. Each rider has a clear idea of which tyre options to use, dependent on what the final track temperature will be.
Race One will take place at 14.00 local time on Saturday 9 April, after the final FP3 session and Superpole qualifying have been completed. An all new qualifying rear tyre has been brought into use by Pirelli for the 2022 season, which will make Superpole a particularly interesting session before the riders fight it out for the first championship points of the new season.
Sunday 10 April will feature the ten lap Superpole Race at 11.00 local time, and the final 18-lap Race Two will take place at 14.00.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am satisfied with today. We just kept working in the same way as we did at the tests, polishing some items. I think the test was the hardest work as we defined the package that we will race with this weekend. I worked on a longer run today, in the afternoon, on one option of tyre, just to have the information about it. On the front we also tried an option during our long run. Now I think we are quite equipped to know what to do tomorrow. It will all depend on the track temperature. My rhythm here is quite OK and if I need to push for a lap time I know I can be fast over one lap as well. So, it is just understanding what temperature we will have tomorrow and trying to make a good start. It’s the first race of the year and I am super-excited about it. I never had that feeling until today. It always felt a bit more exciting at Phillip Island going there to start the season, because it had a different ambience. But now I am pretty excited to race!”
Alex Lowes, stated: “In the recent tests I was doing a lot more work on used tyres compared to the others. In the tests we did not have very much track time. I have got a lot of experience now so I know that tomorrow, in the race, between lap nine and eighteen sometimes the difference in lap time can be massive - because the track is so long here. It is so important to have a bike set-up that you can manage in this part of the race, so maybe I was working more on this. Now my body is good, I feel good and I can ride properly. I need to find a bit more feeling in the front end as some other riders are a little bit ahead. But if I can have a good qualifying, and stay there with them, I think in the second part of the race I can be quite strong. That is how I have tried to plan the week. I am ready to race tomorrow.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) ended his first day in 17th position despite suffering a heavy crash in FP1. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 22nd fastest today and Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) 25th.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 112 (97 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 215 (173 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 29 (9 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: 171 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 489 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall