With the other regular KRT rider Alex Lowes not present at this test, as he works hard on his recovery after a recent training injury, Rea made the most of the available track time. A changing weather forecast saw the team decide to halt the on-track action after half a day of intense work, having completed almost 50 laps.
Having worked through the major parts of the test programme, and with a limited number of available testing days on track for all the WorldSBK teams in 2021, the proposed second day of these Portimao test was postponed. This will allow another day of testing to be scheduled alongside Lowes, at a future date.
The technical staff confirmed some important items at this undulating circuit near the Algarve coast of Portugal, as well as evaluating the new rear seat unit on the 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR. In combination with a new front fairing design, featuring internal winglets, the bodywork developments have been introduced to improve the aerodynamic package of the exciting new model, on road and track.
Rea used an SCX rear tyre to set his best lap of 1’41.472, on what is a recently resurfaced 4.592km long ribbon of tarmac at Portimao.
The team is now planning more tests, at Jerez again and Barcelona, before the start of the full championship season.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been a positive test because looking at the weather forecast before we arrived we were not sure how much track time we were going to get. But we did 48 laps today. I felt good with the bike and I was immediately quite fast. The Portimao circuit did a good job of the new asphalt as well. I was able to try that out but more importantly we focused on the bike set-up and confirming some major items that we will start the season with. We played around with gearbox ratios and final gearings and worked with electronic strategies for managing the power. I feel quite comfortable with that now and we were able to achieve very good lap times. The latest seat unit arrived so we focused on the aerodynamics of the bike, getting a comfortable riding position. With the new seat unit, and the wing tunnels in the rear of it, we were able to get some really good info. We did some back-to-back testing with the old fairing and the new fairing, in addition to the new seat unit. We were able to see that the 2021 version had some extra speed in a straight line, which was quite encouraging. Now we can pack up happy and healthy and move on.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “At our previous test at Jerez it was very important for us to try some different electronics and the feeling was very positive; Johnny felt very good. Of course things had to be confirmed at another track and in another way. The weather forecast here was not so good so we started at 9am and with what we had in Jerez. We reconfirmed the direction we want to go in with development, and Johnny was fast. Very fast. The track has new tarmac and I feel it is still not in the same shape as it was before. It is smoother, less bumpy but the grip level and our feeling with it is not the same yet. But, just for example, we used an SC0 race tyre, and then in the end we put in an SCX - not a Qualifier just the SCX - and Johnny did a 1’41.4 best lap. During the previous race weekend we did a 1’41.8 with this tyre. This means that the improvement is there and the most important thing is the feeling from the rider. We collected information and now we can analyse and make the next step. I am happy with our results, I am happy with the base for 2021. There was the possibility of rain, and because we had collected all the information we needed for the engine, we decided to stop. With the new rules we need to keep our test days for nearer the start of the season and at other circuits also. It seems like step-by-step we are going in a good direction again.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “The weather respected us quite well early today and we could work comfortably and efficiently. We made quite a lot of laps and opted to use a half day of the new Dorna testing rules. We also decided to not test on Friday and move this day over into another part of the year, when both riders are ready to go for lap times. It has been super-good test and now we plan to go Jerez and Montmeló to continue to developing the new ZX-10RR, to make an incredible weapon to fight for championship in 2021. We are working so strongly to have a successful season. I’m sure Dorna will be able to organise 13 championship rounds and it will be such a competitive season we will need to start super-ready from the first race. I'm 100% sure of this.”
WorldSBK Independent Kawasaki team, Orelac Racing VerdNatura used their Ninja ZX-10RR at these tests in Portimao to make greater preparations for the new season ahead with their rider Isaac Vinales.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 99 (84 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 185 (143 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 27 (23 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 24 (4 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: 158 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 454 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 92 – second overall