Rea Takes Early Advantage At Home2023-08-21 09:10
With overcast skies barely dropping some sprinkles of rain in FP1, Rea persevered in his attempt to find a strong pace and a machine set-up, despite seeing spots of water on his visor. He would head up FP1 in the morning and eventually the entire day of practice, even though he did not venture out in FP2.
Only two riders set lap times in FP2, as the rains soon increased and prevented any realistic chance of any rider improving his best lap time.
Rea’s fastest lap of 1’27.627 was set on a completely resurfaced layout, which has removed many of the previous bumps, but which also made the first day of action even more complicated than usual. The Donington WorldSBK lap record, set on race tyres, is a 1’26.767, making Rea’s pace in less than ideal weather ideal conditions an impressive early showing. Jonathan praised the improvements on the new track surface, which offers higher grip characteristics than the previous asphalt.
Lowes, riding at his literal home circuit, was also very impressed with the new surface but feels more work has to be done on his machine set-up to make sure that the more aggressive grip characteristics do not prematurely wear out the softer option range of Pirelli tyres selected for use at Donington.
Like Rea, Lowes elected not to ride in FP2, but still finished up fifth in a field of 24 riders.
After FP3 on Saturday, and under a new schedule specific to this round, Superpole will take place at 11.10 UK time, and a 21-lap Race One will begin at 14.00.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The weather in the whole first practice session wasn’t perfect. There were some spots of water on the visor but you just convinced yourself the track was OK. It has been a bit of a tough day because I have only done five proper timed laps. Right now, we feel a bit underprepared but we are at the top of the timesheets, so it is not all bad. We brought some things here from the test we recently took part in at Motorland Aragon. But, with the limited track time available today it is hard to know if we can continue with them tomorrow. I need a bike that I really know well and I am comfortable to push with. Now we will have one 30 minute FP3 session to set the bike up before Race One. There is new asphalt here, a new grip level and new demands. The track surface feels quite demanding on the rear tyre, to be fair. So, I am not sure if we will persevere with the things we brought from the test.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “The track surface is good because a lot of the bumps from the old surface are gone now. It is not brand new because it has been used a bit by other categories but it is really smooth and they have done a good job. The bike felt good but we can't really tell because I did only one of two laps, and the rain was spitting, so I didn’t know how hard to push, but it felt OK. Obviously tyre life looks like it is going to be a bit of an issue, because the rear tyre was dropping quite a lot. This is something we need to consider for tomorrow, but the bike feels good. If everybody else has to use the SC0 tyre it may be a bit better for us.”
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Tito Rabat was 21st fastest after the first day of action. Like most other riders, he chose to ride in the better conditions of FP1 only.
Isaac Vinales (TPR by Vinales Racing Kawasaki) was a positive 19th on day one. Oliver König (Orelac Racing Movisio Kawasaki) was 24th in his comeback race after injury.
2023 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2023: Races 15, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 118 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 249 (207 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)
2023: Races: 15, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 34 (14 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: 177 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 528 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team
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