On the first day the dry but very cold morning conditions kept most of the riders in the pit garages until the track temperatures improved all around the 5.077km long Motorland Aragon circuit. Ninja ZX-10RR riders Rea and Lowes then joined the full WorldSBK line-up on track, riding in what were increasingly good conditions.
Day two was also cool in the morning but consistently dry weather allowed the official KRT WorldSBK duo to work through their final test plans and make meaningful preparations for the first points scoring races of the 2022 season.
Rea set his best single lap time of 1’48.714 on the final minutes of the tests and was the only rider to get into the 1’48 bracket. He was 0.354 seconds faster than the next rider, Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Lowes could not quite find the one fast lap he desired but in term of his overall race pace he was more satisfied with the final sessions before the new season starts for real in just a few days.
A final change in set-up, to make the most of this final pre-season testing opportunity, meant Alex was unable to move up the combined timesheets and he finished 12th fastest of the 25 riders at this test. Now he looks to make use of his good race pace when the first championship points become available.
With the pre-season action now complete the 2022 WorldSBK campaign will begin in earnest at Motorland Aragon, between 8-10 April. Once again there will be three races on the weekend schedule, with the first on Saturday 9 April.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Step-by-step we have built the package at this test. The afternoon sessions were much better than the first morning. We got meaningful work done and we confirmed our bike set-up. On the last runs I was really able to clarify the package we will start the race weekend with. We also ticked a lot of boxes with tyres. We used the SCQ qualifying tyre, which is new for us. We had to understand it before we use it in Superpole qualifying on Saturday. Today I enjoyed riding the bike; I had a lot of fun and got a lot of feedback. When that happens we are able to go quite fast. I am as ready as I will ever be to start racing. You can always do more, but you have to start somewhere and if we were to go racing tomorrow I am happy enough to start. We will have the usual ‘class of 2022’ photos on Thursday and then go racing on Friday.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “The test was OK but I wasn’t fast enough. We tried a few things with the bike in that last session today, in the good track temperatures. I tried something big and it didn’t really feel that good. Then we did not have enough time to change it back in the final session. We have a couple of days of practice now to put everything we have together. I guess track conditions will be a little bit different on Friday. I feel good in myself and I have had an issue-free pre-season. The bike has been reliable and I have been solid, so the target for this year is to be consistent every weekend. My race pace is OK but over one lap I am not fast - so we need to understand that. Apart from that, it was not too bad and we have a couple of days to make a good plan to start free practice on Friday.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “The test was positive and Johnny is confident with the bike. This two day test is different compared to the race weekend because the temperature is going to be completely different. Now it is around 12-13°C air temperature and it will be around 25°C on the weekend. So the track surface itself will be much hotter and this affects the tyre choice, the set-up - everything. But we have been confirming all we have done in the previous winter tests, to confirm the base bike we want to start with. Johnny is talking quite deeply with the bike and at the end of the day that is the most important thing. Now we will have a chance to relax and then restart for the first race.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “We used these two days quite well. The first sessions on each day were very cold so we knew we were not going to learn anything. We didn’t go out on track except to make some practice starts. But during each day we reached some acceptable track temperatures and we went through our test programme. From a lap time point of view we are not where we would like to be but this is testing and our season still needs to start. We gathered valuable information and we will start from the correct point on Friday.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 18th overall at the Motorland tests, with fellow Kawasaki Independent riders Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) 23rd and Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) 25th.
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)
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