Hot Home Weekend Awaits Lowes And Rea
The fifth round of the WorldSBK championship will get underway at Donington Park in the UK between 15-17 July, with Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes more than ready to get back into competitive action.
With not one but two UK riders in its line-up KRT can almost consider Donington Park as another home venue – even before the squad gets to race within sight of its European base opposite the Circuit de Catalunya – Barcelona, in late September.
The weather forecast for the Donington weekend indicates that it should be hotter than average in the East Midlands of England, up to and through race weekend. This may have an important bearing on overall machine set-up and particularly in regard to tyre choice for the longer Saturday and Sunday races.
Rea enters the Donington weekend in the knowledge that he has scored no fewer than 13 Donington WorldSBK podiums, including six race wins in the recent past. With five race wins in 2022 so far Jonathan sits second in the championship after exactly one-third of the season has been completed.
Donington is almost a literal home round for Alex, having moved to the English East Midlands from his native Lincolnshire some time ago. He is as motivated as ever for success and sees Donington as the ideal venue in which to record his first 2022 podium.
Since the previous WorldSBK round at Misano both Rea and Lowes have still logged hours on race prepared Ninja ZX-10RR machinery. They took part in a short but valuable hot weather test at Motorland Aragon in late June and, more recently, flew to Japan to make on-track preparations in readiness for the Suzuka 8 Hours EWC round.
Two weeks after Donington the WorldSBK paddock will reconvene at Most in the Czech Republic for the sixth round of the series, between 29-31 July. The end of that event signals the start of a five weekend-long summer break, after which Magny Cours in France hosts Round Seven, between 9-11 September.
There will be no WorldSSP300 Championship race at Donington Park but this important category will return to action at Most.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It’s very cool to face my home race. It brings a lot of excitement because a lot of my friends and family will make the trip. I always enjoy seeing the faces of the home fans who have been following me since my BSB days. Now the paddock is more open than it was last year so it will be nice to get amongst them and really soak up the atmosphere of a home race. It feels like a long time since we have raced, but we have been on the bike. We did some private testing at Aragon and also some preparations for the Suzuka 8 Hours. I have had a lot of bike time recently. I am looking forward to the first laps at Donington because it is a track that I really enjoy. It is a circuit of two halves. One fast and flowing, but the end of the lap is very much stop/start. The Ninja ZX-10RR has a good history at Donington and I have had a few wins there now. It is a good track to kick start this part of the season. Both Donington and Most come in quick succession, so it is important to capitalise. The target is to win so I am excited to see what we can do.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “Donington is the only time we get to race in front of the English fans so I am really looking forward to that this coming weekend. It seems there will be a big turnout of spectators and the weather looks like it is going to be mega. Typical English weather – so it is going to be really hot! Donington is a track I really enjoy, I have had good results there, the Kawasaki has had good results there, so there is no better place to get our first podium of the season – which is long overdue. I live really close to the track and I will enjoy it. We have been building up some good momentum, too. I feel good and I can’t wait to get started. It is going to be a good fun weekend in front of the home fans and let’s try to get onto the podium.”
Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is looking to be declared fit for Donington, after missing the previous Misano round through injury. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) is in the same position, having suffered a collarbone injury in a training accident after the Misano round.
Local hero and regular BSB rider for VisionTrack Kawasaki, Leon Haslam, will be a very popular addition to the Donington Park WorldSBK line-up in a repeat of his partnership with the TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki squad at the Assen round this year.