Jonathan Rea proved to be the fastest rider after two days of testing at Portimao, having secured the quickest lap time of 1’41.192 on his Ninja ZX-10RR. Rea rode on his own inside the official Kawasaki WorldSBK team at this test after his fellow KRT rider Tom Sykes was forced to withdraw due to a recent ankle injury.
Under varying track conditions across both days, from the relative cool of the morning to over 50°C in the afternoon, Rea and his crew worked on both preparations for the forthcoming race at Portimao and new set-up ideas and options for the future.
The team also worked with new Pirelli tyres, with both the larger diameter rear and front options, to help continue the overall development programme with WorldSBK’s single tyre supplier.
Rea’s sheer speed was unmatched at this official test, with the three-time champion going 0.948 seconds faster than the second-placed rider. He also went under both the Superpole and race lap record lap times.
With the mid-season testing programme now complete the tenth round of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship will take place between the 14th and 16th of September. Rea will be aiming to extend his already impressive championship lead. Tom Sykes is working to be fit in time to compete at Portimao.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was super-hot at this test but we were able to finish with a good lap time and still put in a consistent level of pace even in hot conditions. It was 53°C on track yesterday and the air temperatures was in the mid 30s. It was good to get re-acquainted with this bike after riding in the Suzuka 8-hour race in Japan. We did not get as many laps in yesterday as we did today, as we made a big change in the middle of the session. We tried some chassis balance items, to create more stability when entering corners. We started at 9am this morning, when they opened the track, and we also got through some Pirelli tyres that we had to test. We finished all the work we had to do before the end of the sessions. The finer set-up details for a race weekend can always be dependent on the grip levels of the track, so we will do that when we come back here for the next round.”
Pere Riba, Jonathan Rea’s Crew Chief, stated: “This was a very good test for us. Maybe it sounds like we always say that, but it is true. Even though Johnny came here from the Suzuka 8-Hour race, where he was using a different spec of bike and tyres, he jumped straight onto his WorldSBK bike and right away he was very good. In Portimao he is always very fast as he really likes this track. Pirelli brought some rear tyre options, and we also worked with new big front tyre we used in Misano. In addition, we worked to understand our best set-up for the Portimao race weekend, some new set-ups for this year’s championship and for 2019. There were some upgrades that made us go forward and Johnny showed that he is at a very high level also.”
Other KME-supported teams were in attendance at the Portimao test, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 12th fastest, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Racing Kawasaki) 14th, Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 16th and Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 17th.
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 18, Wins 10, Podiums 15, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 64 (49 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 127 (85 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 18, Wins 1, Podiums 6, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 106 (105 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 46 (46 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: 120 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 370 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 79 – second overall