After competing at Motorland Aragon in Spain and Assen in the Netherlands the official Ninja ZX-10RR riders will now head south once again for the first of two Portuguese rounds in 2022.
Jonathan has already won three races this year, accounting for half of the available victories. He has two previous WorldSBK race wins at Estoril - the most recent two - as he finished third, first and first again during the 2021 event.
A six times champion for Kawasaki, from 2015 to 2020, Rea’s overall aim in 2022 is to regain the crown over the 12-round season.
For Alex, the Estoril weekend offers him the chance show his pace and stamina once more as he looks to score his first podium finishes of the year. He came close at Assen with fourth place in the final race of a sometimes unlucky weekend.
He has been preparing for a return to action in Portugal after three free weekends for all in the WorldSBK paddock after the previous round.
Rea is currently second in the championship standings with 91 points and Lowes is ninth overall, with 28 points.
The 4.182km long Estoril circuit, located near the capital city of Lisbon, has been back on the calendar since 2020, after two previous outings in the first ever WorldSBK season of 1988 and then again in 1993.
After the Estoril weekend Round Four takes place at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, in Italy, between 10-12 June.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been nice to have a little break but honestly after the first week of being away from the circuit I prefer to be back again. It is always nice when the feeling with the bike is good to keep the momentum going, but it was also nice to get some time at home, crack on with my training and also visit the North West 200 last weekend. It was cool to see such a big event in Northern Ireland and the support from motorcyclists for what I am doing is incredible, even at a pure road race event. Now I am pretty excited to go to Estoril. It is a very cool circuit and I enjoy the layout. I have had really good memories from there, especially in 2020. Winning my sixth WorldSBK title there was an incredible feeling. To be honest, that weekend I really didn’t ride so good as we had some difficulties, but in 2021 we were much better. We were able to get really good results and be competitive. We were able to understand how to exploit our Ninja ZX-10RR there. Of course, this year we will turn up with a further improved machine. In the first couple of races of the season I felt very strong on the bike and very consistent. This weekend it will be very important to keep the ball rolling. Aside from a DNF in Race Two at Assen we have not been off the podium, or even out of the top two, which shows our strength.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I am looking forward to this weekend and it seems like a long, long break since the Assen round. I also went to Bristol in the UK to open a Kawasaki dealership and meet some fans after Assen. It was a little bit of a frustrating weekend in the Netherlands in terms of results, as we didn’t finish and had a technical issue but my speed all weekend was really strong. In Aragon as well, getting the fastest lap of the second race shows that the speed has been there all year, which is nice. My body feels good, because last year we know it didn’t after some injuries. So I am really optimistic for a better weekend in Portugal. I cannot wait to get back with the guys, start work on Friday, get back into it, and challenge for a podiums on the weekend. Keep it simple and have fun, those are the targets for the weekend.”
Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is keen to get back into action in his second full WorldSBK campaign with his Italian team, after a season best of tenth in Race Two at Assen.
Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) continues his learning process inside the WorldSBK class after promotion from the WorldSSP300 category he raced in last year. Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) will take over the long-serving Italian squad’s WorldSBK machine in Portugal. He has already made 31 career race starts in WorldSBK.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 6, Wins 3, Podiums 5, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 115 (100 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 220 (178 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 6, 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: 174 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 494 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall