The day dawned wet after early morning rains struck but even at the end of Free Practice One the 4.411km long track surface was beginning to dry out, allowing the pace to pick up.
Once the cloud cover had given way to sunshine in the afternoon the air and track temperatures rose steadily and FP2 provided the fastest times in the best track conditions for all 21 riders in the WorldSBK field.
Rea was firmly inside the top three after day one at Magny Cours, just 0.288 seconds from the fastest time. Having his first true dry weather experience of a track surface that was new for the 2020 season he experienced some set-up issues that he and his team will resolve overnight.
Alex Lowes was having his first Kawasaki ride on a dry track at Magny Cours in general, after last year the surface was always wet to some extent. Lowes was inside the top positions today until late in the frantic last few minutes of FP2.
Ending up eighth but happy with the progress he and his technical crew had made from FP1 onwards, Lowes enjoyed a positive first day at the eighth round of the WorldSBK Championship.
On Saturday 4 September Rea and Lowes will start their day with FP3 in the morning, followed by Tissot Superpole qualifying and then a full distance 21-lap WorldSBK Race One, which starts at 14.00 local time in France.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I did not feel completely comfortable on the bike today. I feel consistent, just consistently slow! In that last part of braking and tipping into the corner I feel I am losing a little bit. Aside from that, some areas where we have been really strong in the past, like sector one, I have been struggling. There are a lot of bumps in Turn One and the bike is not really absorbing them so well. It is taking the edge off full commitment because the bike is moving around. It is just a case of going through what we have learned this afternoon and comparing it with what we have had in the past. We know the bike works well here and we will try to make a step for tomorrow.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “It was a good day - and my first day around Magny Cours on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR in dry track conditions. Last year we had every session wet, which made it a strange weekend! The bike feels good and I really enjoyed it this afternoon in FP2. It was nice and consistent and we have a couple of areas we know to improve in for tomorrow. A positive first day in France for me.”
WorldSBK rookie Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 14th at home on his WorldSBK machine, Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 19th and Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) 21st.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 21, Wins 8, Podiums 19, Superpoles 7
Career Race Wins: 107 (92 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 204 (162 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 34 (30 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 21, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 28 (8 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: 166 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 477 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 99 – second overall