KRT riders Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea took part in a new-look Friday on the opening day of the 2018 season, with three 40 minute practice sessions now replacing the two one hour long practices of 2017. Sykes finished fourth fastest overall and Rea fifth today, with both Ninja ZX-10RR riders earning automatic Superpole 2 places in the process.
Overnight rains affected FP1 today, with most riders posting their fastest laps in the dry FP2 session knowing there was another 40 minutes available in which to make a final push.
Jonathan was one of the few riders to go faster in the third session, after trying some different machine settings from those he used in the recent official tests earlier today.
Sykes almost joined Rea in setting an even better lap time in FP3 than his previous 1’30.882 but was still well inside the leading group, one place up on Rea. After good set-up work on used tyres, Sykes is fully prepared for race one on Saturday – if the conditions turn out to be dry.
With both official Ninja ZX-10RR machines clearly inside the top free practice places, preparations now begin inside the KRT garages to qualify well in Superpole 2 and ensure that each rider takes a leading grid position for race one.
The first race of the new season will take place on Saturday 24th February and race two on Sunday 25th, with both events scheduled for 15.00, local time.
Tom Sykes, stated: “I am very happy with today’s results. We have just done a long run on the tyres. In that last FP3 session we used the tyre from the previous session, so it has 28 laps on it now. My fastest lap today was on lap 16 on that same tyre, so I am happy. We were going to use a new set of tyres later today but we tried a couple of new things on the bike and it is working flawlessly at the moment. I am really enjoying riding it and I’m looking forward to the race. If it is dry then we are very well prepared.”
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We put everything together and tried something we were thinking about from the test, to put together for the weekend. Unfortunately we missed the first session due to rain and in the second session the change we tried was not exactly right. We tried something a little bit different for the last session to try and give me a bit of front end confidence, and I got it. Not many people improved their lap time in the last session but I was constantly on a really good pace in those conditions and I feel good for tomorrow. I was on course to be fastest but I had a huge moment in T11. I just got a little bit too excited because I knew it was a good lap time!”
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