KRT WorldSBK Squad Ready For A High Tempo Restart
After an enforced absence from track action the official Kawasaki Racing Team will get its intense schedule of tests and races underway this week with a two-day test session at the Misano circuit on the Adriatic coast of Italy, on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th June.
After a strong start to the season for the pairing of five times WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea and proven race winner Alex Lowes, KRT has spent the Covid-19 lockdown working hard in the background while eagerly anticipating the chance to get back into direct action in their natural environment of race circuits. With their championship-winning Ninja ZX-10RR machines all prepared and ready to go again, that wait will soon be over.
This forthcoming test will be unlike any other due to the ongoing pandemic. All the team members have been tested and will be health tested and checked during the period of track testing. There will be no regular hospitality unit as such on-site at Misano, with the team getting meals supplied at the track by team staff. For the entire duration team staff will be practicing social distancing and putting in place numerous anti-viral protocols such as facemasks, frequent hand sanitation and adhering to demarked working zones.
Even the confirmed arrival of the team members into Italy just in time to prepare for the Misano test has been a challenge, right up to the last minute. This has been an evolving process considering that the fluid nature of lockdown restrictions are being eased in little-by-little by governments and national bodies, and the team itself features several nationalities in its largely Barcelona-based makeup.
Rea has even travelled to the Misano test in a small panel van he normally uses to transport his motocross bikes in, while Lowes travelled to Italy last Saturday, with his Moto2 racing brother Sam and their respective partners. They will stay in a house rather than a hotel close to the circuit itself for the duration of the test.
After two days at Misano the team will relocate back to Spain for another two day test at a circuit all new to WorldSBK racing – Montmelo – just a stone’s throw from the team’s headquarters in Granollers. With one full WorldSBK round already completed in Australia in early March (during which Lowes and Rea won a race apiece) the season restarts at four Iberian circuits – Jerez, Portimao, Aragon (twice) and then Montmelo – in what will be a busy period for all involved in the exciting 2020 WorldSBK championship fight. The season is set to restart for real at Jerez, with racedays scheduled for Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am super-excited to get back on the bike – not just to ride again but to see all the team and simply enjoy the working together. I missed that during lockdown. I think this is probably the longest period I have been off the bike! Misano is a great track to get back into the swing of things at. I know our ZX-10RR very well and I know Misano well too. We will have four hot races at the beginning of the re-started season this summer, in Spain and Portugal, so it is perfect to come and test at Misano at this time, as the weather should be similar. The track itself at Misano has a bit of everything – fast corners, both fast and slow changes of direction, and some stop-and-go corners. Because of the lockdown and the quarantine restrictions in the UK I have driven here to Italy in my MX van. I am in here with my bikes, my training gear – pretty much my life is in a van at the minute! I am excited by the journey and getting to test again. It should be a great two days if we keep on working, because we were one of the strongest in Australia. It is really nice to go into this test on the back of securing my future with KRT beyond this season as well. The atmosphere should be pretty nice and we can focus on this year completely. It was great for the team to have been able to get us to this test despite the global situation and I am grateful to Dorna and the circuits for working out the new calendar for us. I cannot wait for the lights to go out on the grid at Jerez on the 1st of August. I will be ready.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I am really, really excited to get back on my bike! Obviously I am living my dream job so it has been frustrating not to be able to ride, so to get back out this week? I will be like a kid at Christmas the night before we test! I just want to get back out on my ZX-10RR now. In terms of work and what we are trying to achieve, I am looking forward to picking up where we left off with a good feeling on the bike. The number one target of this test is to get the feeling back with the bike and team, and also enjoy it! This is my first season on the ZX-10RR so is going to be nice to try the Kawasaki at another track with Marcel and the guys. Hopefully by the end of the tests we will be up to a good speed and working on that base setting that worked so well in the winter. I am happy if we get hot conditions at Misano because it will be important for me to work with the bike in that way. I am already out in Italy, getting some training in the sun and riding little bikes. It is red hot right now!”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “This test is our real starting point after the long Covid-19 delay. We have to restart again mainly to get into the rhythm with the riders. It is also especially important to understand the health and safety conditions we will find in the next rounds of the championship, and refine our working conditions. We will take all of this very this carefully to not spread the virus inside the paddock. We will need to work in a very calm way, trying to keep our distance and still make a good test. We will have antibody tests every time we meet together. All of this has led to extra jobs and extra difficulties to operate the team but all of it is necessary. We know our riders have been working a lot since Australia, although with some limits of course, so we need to know how they will be when they arrive at the tests. In general we need to organise everything particularly well and with a short calendar after the re-start we have a smaller margin for error. We want to keep winning to the end of the year. We are calm also that both riders are confirmed with KRT for next year now, so we are all fully focused on this championship season. We need to make an especially good job because Kawasaki and our sponsors, like Monster Energy, Motocard, Showa and Elf, understand the present difficulties and they have kept up their support in the project and in their own human inputs. A lot of success and coverage is needed right to the end of the year to repay all their support!”
2020 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
2020: Races 3, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 89 (74 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 170 (128 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 23 (19 for Kawasaki)
2020: Races: 3, 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: 148 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 437 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 88 – second overall