News & Features

January 30, 2018

Positive KRT European Winter Tests Now Complete

KRT’s WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes completed their final days of European winter testing in Portugal today, with just two more days of testing in Australia to take part in before the start of the new season, at the end of February.

Rea was fastest on both days of action at Portimao, with his opening session 1’41.475 the best overall time. Sykes set his personal best time of 1’41.952, also on the less windy first day of action.

Track conditions became both more blustery and dustier on day two, to the extent that Rea and his technical crew opted to stop for a while in the middle of the day. They restarted near the end of the available time to complete the evaluation of the last few items on their overall testing planSykes was not in a position to push for a fast lap time near the end of the test but was happy to have completed his schedule of work and also set a good race pace on used tyres.

With new technical rules introduced this season, limiting all Kawasaki riders’ engines to a maximum of 14,100rpm at the start of the year, much of the winter test programme has been concentrated in this area, with positive outcomes thus far.

Rea and Sykes will head to Australia in confident mood for the opening round, to be held between 23rd and 25th February.

The next appointment for the entire KRT squad will be the team launch on February 8th in Barcelona. Then the final testing action will take place on 19th and 20th February, at Phillip Island.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Today was actually bit of a difficult day with the conditions, very windy and gusty as well, so I really did not feel comfortable pushing on the limit. It did not make any sense to use a qualifying tyre or do long runs. We also made some practice starts and tested a new front and a new rear tyre from Pirelli. We expect those to come in some time in the future, but both times I used them I got interrupted by red flags. So it was a strange day in some ways. Generally the test has been good because yesterday we were able to have two hours while the wind was a bit reduced and do some productive testing. We have ticked all the boxes and the feeling with the bike has improved. I have woken up, because in Jerez last week I was still fast but I did not feel 100% on the bike. Here I was much better on the first laps.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “It went relatively well today but we did not get that initial fastest lap time. On used tyres the pace and was much better and where we need to be. The last two days we have been basically function testing so we never really got to dial in the set-up but I am happy because were are not too far from where we need to be. I felt we were making good progress and we have got everything done in time to go to Phillip Island. I can go there with a clean slate and really start working.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am very happy with these tests because we made another step to get Johnny confident and he has been flying. Jonathan did not use a Q tyre and set basically the same lap time as yesterday. It was windier today and more difficult, so we stayed a lot of time in the garage. The plan was to do a long run and make test with Pirelli tyres but we could not do that as the wind was stronger than yesterday. The wind was sometimes inconsistent and there were a lot of red flags, a lot of crashes. We focused on finding a small comparison with some items and the set-up we found yesterday was very good. I am very pleased with this test and now we go to Australia for the final test and then the races.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Tom Sykes stated: “Today the wind picked up some speed and this was disturbing us quite a lot. The good thing is that we completed our full test programme, all the items we needed to test over these two days. We ended up with a good idea about how to start in Phillip Island. Near the end of the day we tested some new Pirelli front tyres which gave us a similar result to Jerez. We did not use qualifying tyres at this test. Overall we hoped to be a bit closer to the front of the time sheets but over distance we have the correct pace and we are ready than the first round.”

2018 KRT Rider Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 54 (39 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 112 (70 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 14 (10 for Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 33 (33 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 100 (99 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 42 (42 for Kawasaki)

5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 109 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 348 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 73 – second overall