In warm yet windy conditions, with almost 50°C track temperatures at the end, the second of two free practice sessions saw Rea’s top three lap time earned late in the session – and only after he and his team had met their main set-up aims.
As always in 2019 the team has only two sessions on Friday to find an ideal set-up in readiness for Superpole qualifying and then race one on Saturday 8 June. Rea had been fifth overall in FP1, improving to finish inside the top three in readiness for Superpole on Saturday.
Haslam was seventh fastest in the morning session on Friday in Spain, but ended up ninth as – like some other riders - he could not improve on his FP1 pace in the afternoon.
On Saturday the KRT riders will take part in a final FP3 shakedown in the morning, then Tissot Superpole qualifying and finally Race One, which is scheduled for 20-laps of the 4.423km long circuit. Sunday will feature a ten-lap Tissot Superpole Race and a final 20-lap battle.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was a really positive day in the end as we managed to turn things around. The biggest challenge was coming from riding the Endurance machine in Japan only a few days ago to this morning. I got a little bit lost with my feeling on the bike. Also, since they re-asphalted the surface here the grip is so, so high. It is an abnormal feeling to ride on it and you do not understand the limit because the grip is so high. So, I am just trying to acclimatise to that. I also tried all options of rear tyres to confirm our understand of which one to use. In the afternoon session we changed a few things to give me a bit more confidence on the brakes and we reconfirmed the step we made in a Misano test with my position on the bike. I was happy with where we were.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “This morning wasn’t too bad but we were suffering in the same areas as Imola to get the bike to stop. This afternoon it was harder and kept losing the front. We found a better way right at the end, and even on 15 lap-old tyres I set my best lap over the session. So there were some positives but it was a tough one. It looks like it will continue hot like it was this afternoon. So that is something we need to look at, make a bit of a plan and then see where we can get to tomorrow.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was tenth fastest today, Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 12th, despite losing some track time to electronics glitches. Leandro (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) came back to action today after recent injury, and was 14th from the 19 riders on track.
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 13, Wins 2, Podiums 13, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 73 (58 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 147 (105 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 17 (13 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 13, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 41 (3 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: 129 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 396 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 82 – second overall