Warm and dry weather was the backdrop to Friday’s opening action at the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona with the second free practice session in the afternoon proving to be hotter than the first. The track temperature almost reached 50°C in FP2.
Rea was to finish up on the ‘virtual’ overnight front row thanks to his 1’41.652 time from the morning session, which was held in relatively cool conditions.
Lowes worked on his race pace from the start and like his team-mate Rea he set his best single lap time in the morning session, when the track temperature only rose to 35°C.
Each rider’s technical staff will now combine the experiences and information from practice day one at the 4.657 long Montmelo circuit with the data they collected during a private test here a few weeks ago to come up with the best possible set-up to take on the first challenge of a 20-lap Race One on Saturday May 6.
Sunday May 7 will feature the ten-lap Tissot-Superpole race and then the final full distance Race Two, over 20 laps.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We used something on the bike today to change the front geometry. It was a strange day for me because I had mixed feelings this morning. The temperature was lower and I was relatively fast but I didn’t have a really good feeling. It seemed like I was competitive, even with some laps in the tyres, as I had a similar drop to our main rivals. We pursued that new set-up into the afternoon but I didn’t feel good on the bike. The feeling to get to the apex at the end of the braking stage meant I had no confidence. The heat just amplified that problem. It was a bit frustrating today but we had to try something, so tomorrow we will try to improve on the base that we had at the test.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We worked on our race distance set-up today, on used tyres, but clearly in these hot conditions we are struggling. We need to have a good chat with the guys in the team and try to make a plan of how we can improve for Saturday. Both our front and rear tyres are not lasting the distance and we are using the hardest solutions. So we have to think about some things for the first race tomorrow.”
Young Czech rider Oliver König (Orelac Racing Movisio Kawasaki) was 18th from 25 riders after one day of practice in Catalunya. Isaac Vinales (TPR by Vinales Racing Kawasaki) was 22nd and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 24th after the first two practice sessions.
2023 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2023: Races 9, Wins 0, Podiums 3, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 118 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 248 (206 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)
2023: Races: 9, 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: 527 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall