News & Features

May 10, 2017

Imola Arrives Soon For KRT’s Championship Leaders

On the eve of the Imola round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship Jonathan Rea (KRT) and Tom Sykes (KRT) sit 1-2 in the points table, after four rounds and eight individual races on their Ninja ZX-10RR machines.

It has been a strong start again for the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2017 with Rea on 195 points from a possible 200 and Sykes on 131.

Utilising the Ninja ZX-10RR to the full so far Rea is now the WorldSBK rider with the third highest number of race wins through his career. As part of his overall total of 45 wins he has scored 30 of them for Kawasaki, in just over two years.

With seven wins from eight starts in 2017 two-time champion Rea has hit a remarkable seam of class-leading form already. He now returns to a circuit he has won five races at in the recent past, the most recent being a double for Kawasaki in 2015.

Imola has also been a winning venue for Tom Sykes, who scored a double of his own on his Ninja ZX-10R as part of his championship-winning season in 2013. Having been suffering from an intestinal illness of late he is looking at Imola as an opportunity to add to his career total of 31 race wins, and go for his first race victory of 2017.

Tom has already scored six podiums in eight races, despite his health issues and being in the process of rebuilding his overall riding style to suit the changing direction of the championship technical regulations.

In the most recent contest for points between the KRT riders, in race two at Assen, Rea and Sykes were separated by only 0.025 seconds, which has added an even higher level of anticipation to the Imola weekend build-up.

At 4.936km long the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari packs in more changes of elevation and variety of corners than most as it winds around a city-centre parkland setting. Classic corner names like Tosa, Acque Minerali and Piratella help add to the mystique at Imola as modernity and history meet in what will be the first of two Italian-based rounds in 2017.

The confidence inside the entire Kawasaki racing family is at a particularly high level entering the Imola weekend, after Kawasaki riders won every single main race – in WorldSBK, WorldSSP, WorldSSP300 and STK1000 – at the previous round in Assen.

A home event for both KRT’s British riders will form the subsequent weekend after Imola, with Donington Park once again on the WorldSBK calendar. Racedays will be on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I enjoy the track and the atmosphere at Imola. It is normally the first round in Europe where we see the nice weather coming along and I have been out here in Italy for a few days just to spend some time here. After the last few races everything has been going in the right way. We faced a really difficult Imola last season, and had many challenges, but this year our bike has been even more competitive – so I am excited to see how the ZX-10RR works there. We will just go about our plan and try to make a good package for both races. Our bike is working in a much bigger window than last year and that gives me a lot of confidence.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “I have had some improvement in my physical condition in the run up to Imola so fingers crossed we can do a bit better job. I do feel like things have improved and I have had some medication recently, which helps with the feeling of sickness I get sometimes. So hopefully now we are headed in the right way. Overall I am really looking forward to Imola and we have had some good success there in the past. With recent events I am quietly confident we can try and make a strong race weekend this time. We have a good package so we will definitely be there for the fight.”

2017 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015 and 2016
2017: Races 8, Wins 7, Podiums 8, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 45 (30 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 96 (54 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 11 (7 For Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2017: Races: 8, Wins 0, Podiums 6, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 31 (31 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 90 (89 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 38 (38 For Kawasaki)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
4 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015 & 2016), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
2 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016)
2 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015 & 2016)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 98 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 321 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 66 – second overall

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