Although some areas of the 4.411km long circuit still provided their own challenges after a complete new layer of asphalt has been laid since the 2019 French WorldSBK round, in general the new surface came in for praise from the riders.
There was a new wet rear Pirelli tyre at this round, as well as the existing standard wet option. Both KRT riders were able to evaluate the differences between them today, especially given how wet the track surface proved to be.
Beginning strongly as usual, Rea was the fastest rider in the FP1 session this morning. He was eventually second quickest in the final afternoon period as the track became very slightly less wet toward the end of the second 50-minute track outing.
Jonathan pushed as hard as he dared to learn the characteristics of the new track surface in wet conditions, but despite running off track for a time he remained upright and gained valuable lessons to take into the rest of the weekend.
Lowes began his first Magny Cours experiences of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR using the standard rear rain tyre, before moving to a newer development tyre on which he secured an overnight fifth place overall.
FP3, Superpole qualifying and race one will now be run on Saturday 3 October. On Sunday a 10-lap Tissot-Superpole ‘sprint’ and a full distance 21-lap race two will round out the penultimate weekend of the compact 2020 championship, which Rea currently leads by 51 points.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Normally I would spend a bit of time in the box in the wet sessions, because we know our wet set-up works, but I felt good so I just wanted to keep doing laps and understand the new asphalt. We needed to understand the tyres as well. I tried both the wet tyres and the new one is incredible, definitely a step in the right direction. We got a lot of good info in the afternoon session. I had a moment between T6 and T7 today but I got away with it. We put a new tyre on the bike in the middle of the first session and we just ran it the rest of the day. I was feeling more confident and giving it more and more and we just found the limit. There was a bit too much confidence today, to be fair, so I will try and take it back a notch tomorrow.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “This morning we knew it was going to be wet all day and because it has been resurfaced here it is like a different track. I have memories from how the track was in the wet in the past but it is completely different. The surface feels a lot gripper to me and the times are a lot faster. The left side of the tyre still gets a little cold but in general the grip is a lot more. I actually enjoy riding here in the rain rather than just being nervous. This morning was not too bad and this afternoon I was one of the fastest guys all session. I am looking forward to riding again tomorrow and I understand a lot more about the bike now.”
In the wet Friday sessions Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) placed 13th overall and was again the leading independent Kawasaki rider. French rider Valentin Debise (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) was 15th from the 21 WorldSBK competitors. Xavier Pinsach (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 19th in his first ever WorldSBK practice sessions.
2020 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
2020: Races 18, Wins 9, Podiums 15, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 97 (82 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 183 (141 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 27 (23 for Kawasaki)
2020: Races: 18, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 22 (2 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
7 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
5 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018 & 2019)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 156 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 450 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 92 – second overall