Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will shortly embark on a run of six European-based WorldSBK championship rounds, beginning at Motorland Aragon this coming weekend. The third of 13 rounds in the 2019 WorldSBK Championship Motorland Aragon will be an event laden with opportunities for both official KRT riders, given their most recent experiences at the 5.007km long circuit.
Rea has won at Motorland three times, as part of a total of nine podiums at this venue. He scored a victory for Kawasaki in race one last year. Haslam’s most recent Motorland race weekend experience, in 2015, delivered pole position and then a third place in race two.
WorldSBK race winning record holder and four-time World Champion Rea is looking to take his first step on the very top of the podium in 2019, having finished runner up in every race of the new season so far. Rea’s record of 71 race wins is still 12 more than the next closest rider.
Rea has already added to his career pole position total on the latest Ninja ZX-10RR, raising it to 17 at the opening round of the season in Australia.
Reigning BSB champion Haslam’s last competitive visit to Motorland was fruitful in terms of scoring pole and a podium. In addition, his first on-track experience with his official KRT Ninja ZX-10RR was at Motorland Aragon last November, where he set strong lap times.
As is the ‘new normal’ race weekend schedule in 2019, there will be two full distance contests for full points at Motorland this weekend, and one ten-lap Tissot Superpole race on Sunday morning. The shorter race only scores points for the first nine riders home, with 12 for the winner.
The ‘sprint’ race also determines the grid slots for the top nine riders in the last full-distance race on Sunday afternoon. The two 18-lap races will take place at 14.00hrs on Saturday the fifth of April and Sunday the sixth; with the Tissot Superpole race starting at 11.00hrs on Sunday.
Jonathan is second in the championship standings after two rounds, 26 points behind the lead. Even though he suffered from pain associated to trapped nerves in his back at the previous round in Buriram, Leon Haslam is sixth overall.
A quick-turnaround road trip to the north of Europe follows the Motorland Aragon round of the championship as Assen in the Netherlands hosts the fourth round, with track action to be held between the 12th and the 14th of April.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It’s been a nice break since Buriram and Motorland is a good place to get back to business. I enjoy the track layout and we made some good progress last year during winter testing. We will continue to work on making more progress during Friday’s practice sessions. The layout is nice and flowing with lots of challenges during the lap, so finding a good set up for the race is crucial. It’s an important race for my team too, as their headquarters are just a few hours away in Granollers, near Barcelona. I expect lots of support and I’m excited to give it my all.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “Aragon is a circuit I last raced at in 2015 but I was on pole. I managed to score a podium there, so those are not bad memories. It has not been one of my favourite circuits but the lap times have been pretty competitive. My very first test with KRT was at Aragon last year, even though we lost some track time due to the weather. But the lap times still came pretty good. I am predicting that it is going to be a tough weekend this time. Jonathan’s record around there is really competitive. Chaz Davies goes pretty well there and Alvaro Bautista is going to be the man to beat, especially with the couple of big straights that there are at this circuit. I think it is going to be a big fight to get on that podium but obviously that is always my aim. My back is better, definitely ten times better, than it was in Thailand.”
As he approaches the Motorland Aragon round Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) sits ninth overall in the championship and is fourth in the Independent Riders’ rankings. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is 12th after six races and two rounds in his first season riding a Ninja ZX-10RR. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is currently 15th but aiming to move up at the home round of his team’s title sponsor.
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 6, Wins 0, Podiums 6, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 140 (98 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 17 (13 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 6, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 41 (3 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 388 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 82 – second overall