The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

9 February 2022

Good KRT Progress in Portugal

After two days of testing at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve between 8 and 9 February, KRT WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes made great progress in their preparations for the forthcoming 2022 season.

Rea ended up the second fastest rider overall, with Lowes fourth quickest around the 4.592km long circuit in the hills above the coastal town of Portimao.

Consistently dry weather was experienced through the two days, with the winds just picking up a little in the afternoon of day one.

In the first half of the final day Rea set the first ever lap time under the 1’40 barrier at Portimao. In the afternoon he improved his personal best to 1’39.851 on the 2022 Ninja ZX-10RR.

Rea and his crew worked on chassis and electronic set-ups, with the results of a long run in the afternoon session being particularly positive, especially in terms of tyre usage over full race distance. Jonathan also set his best lap time on one of the new SCQ development tyres that single make supplier Pirelli brought to his test.

Lowes’ best lap of 1’40.335 was set after spending the vast majority of his track time comparing and contrasting parts to find a base set-up for the start of the new season.

Alex was particularly happy to have set a high number of laps overall, and at a good pace, proving that his physical condition is much improved from last season.

Always a popular circuit for testing and racing, Portimao will host the ninth round of the 2022 WorldSBK season, between 7-9 October. The season starts in earnest at Motorland Aragon in the north of Spain, between 8-10 April.

The next KRT pre-season test sessions will take place at their ‘home’ circuit of Montmelo, in Catalunya, on March 25 and 26.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “We got a lot of laps in at this test. We have been going back and forward because we had a couple of chassis items we were not sure about. Finally I think we can be pretty confident that we have confirmed a couple of items we found in Jerez at the previous tests. We finally put the package together. In the middle of the day Pirelli brought some tyres that we had to try and then we worked on our plan in the afternoon. We did a long race simulation at the end - and some practice starts that were much better than the ones on the first day. During the long run the feeling was that the set-up was taking some feeling away ‘from my hand’ but it is actually better. Normally in Portimao there is a big tyre drop after ten or 15 laps, but today I did not experience any drop in the long run. I’m pretty happy with that and we will keep working on that side of things. It is important to be fast but it is important to be fast at the end of races. I think we can safely say we managed that today. So, all-in-all, it was a pretty solid day. I think we have a pretty good handle on what our base set-up is going to be to start the year.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “We have had a really good test here and I think I did 162 laps over the two days. That is the best thing for me because I have not done a full day’s testing for over a year because of the all the injuries I have had. So to do 160-odd laps at a good pace, no mistakes, and while working hard on the bike; I am really happy. That is one box ticked off. In terms of settings on the bike we made some improvements but it looks like the other guys have also made some. I am really happy with the work we have done but we still need to find a couple of tenths or so before the start of the season. This is the best I have felt on the bike in a long, long time. I am really happy and we are going to work hard with my crew chief Marcel during this little break before we have our Montmelo test at the end of March.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Over the two days Johnny set a lot of laps. Today, at the end, he was tired because we made so many laps and even in the afternoon we made a real long run, 19-20 laps. We made a good test. We have been focusing during the tests in Jerez and Portimao to understand some items to build the base to start the season in Motorland Aragon. Here, we had a chance to compare things again in these two days and the weather was very good. We collected very helpful information to understand the next step to build the package. We also focused with the electronics to give a little bit to Johnny in some areas. We are all happy and now we have time to analyse some things and prepare for the next test. We have had the first impressions of our competitors at this test and I think everybody knows who will be fighting for the championship. It is a little bit more clear. Now, we will try to prepare everything for the next test.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a very good test and clearly Alex made an impressive recovery from his 2021 injuries over the winter. He did not feel any type of fatigue. He is at full strength, so it is impressive how well he recovered in the last two-and-a-half months. A lot of respect for that. Alex was able to increase his speed lap-by-lap over these two days. We did not make any change to the bike set-up we just tested our updated material. This Portimao test was the point for us to have a clear idea about our bike specification for the coming season. From today we can say that we know what we will race for about 99% of the bike. This was our target and we reached our target. Alex was fast, ridiculously consistent when he did his long runs, and I am happy he could match his race speed to the competition. On race tyres and over distance he can match their speed. We are very confident and we have two more tests in front of us before the start of the season. Now, we can start to look at the smaller details because all the big items are done.”

2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 112 (97 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 215 (173 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)

Alex Lowes:
2022: Races: 0, 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: 171 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 489 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall