In the Superpole qualifying session, before the first race got underway in dry conditions, Lowes was a close second and Rea third, giving each KRT rider a very positive front row starting place.
In a race that was expected to have tyre choices and wear rates at its core Rea was an early seventh after being pushed wide at the start. He was then held in fifth place for some time, before moving forward gradually to go second with four laps to run.
Using all the experience accrued from his six championship wins Rea resisted the temptation to push too hard, too early. As other riders slowed once their tyres started to spin and slide Rea rode with patience and control to get into second place on lap 17.
He would hold that position to the flag, but eventual race winner Alvaro Bautista was too far ahead to be caught. Rea came under some late pressure from behind, but Garrett Gerloff remained in third place across the finish line.
Jonathan’s podium finish was his 190th top three race result for Kawasaki.
Lowes was in smooth and calm form in the early stages, sitting in third place for four laps, before being gradually passed by some rivals and then losing two positions on the final two laps. In seventh place at the flag he still scored good championshiop points ahead of the two remaining races at Barcelona-Catalunya.
Sunday’s action will feature the ten lap Superpole race and then Race Two over a full distance of 20 laps.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “That was a strategy race for sure. We know this circuit is really tough for managing the tyre. Rinaldi released the brake in Turn One and unfortunately he hit me, then I touched Locatelli and he also went wide. I ended up in seventh place and I thought - again a lot of work to do. Step by step I was calm. I realised Toprak and Alvaro were gone, so I was thinking about a podium today. I didn’t go faster, those guys in front just came back to me, so I said to myself ‘a podium is maybe possible, don’t give up!’ Then I saw that Toprak was not going away and I thought maybe second was possible. There is a point when you’re riding like this when it’s hard because you are not pushing but conserving the tyre. So it is just exercising that kind of patience. My bike set-up was good today. I have to thank the crew - not just my crew but Alex’s crew as well - because they helped to completely change my bike set-up before the race, just after Superpole. We found a good positive direction with the front of the bike.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “Honestly, I am disappointed in the race because I felt good on the bike. In Superpole we made a change and the set up was good on fresh tyres. I was expecting maybe to struggle with the front tyre in the race but I made a good start and was in the leading group. The front tyre was quite good so in the last five laps, after Johnny passed me, I tried to sit in there. I could see we were catching Toprak, so I was still hoping and feeling good for a podium. In the last five laps I had big problems with my rear tyre grip. We will now try to understand why it was so bad and work again for tomorrow. I fell really good on the bike at this track so it is a shame to finish seventh, because we are riding better than that. But, we have two more chances tomorrow,”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 14th and in the points in the opening race, with Oscar Gutierrez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 17th. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) placed 19th in Race One.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 22, Wins 5, Podiums 17, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 117 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 232 (190 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 39 (35 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 21, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 30 (10 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: 176 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 507 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 104 – second overall