A dry opening day on Friday 25 March at the 4.657km long venue, situated just a few hundred yards from the team’s HQ, provided both KRT riders and the vast majority of their 2022 rivals consistent track conditions to work with.
The second day started out dry, but cooler than day one, with the expected rains finally appearing in the middle of the day, ending all meaningful track action.
On the 2022 Ninja ZX-10RR six-times World Champion Rea set his best time of 1’41.062 on Day One of the tests. That put him overall second fastest at that stage, before finishing up fourth quickest in the combined times.
Rea and his crew confirmed their season-starting base settings before making more specific set-up steps to race at Barcelona in the autumn. Rea also worked on some tyre options, to be ready for whatever the real race conditions will provide when the championship heads there to race.
A now fully fit Lowes worked on his machine set-up with his pit crew throughout the test. Like his team-mate Jonathan, Alex set his best lap time - a 1’41.664 - on the slightly warmer opening day.
Even though Lowes lost some potential track time to the rains that arrived just after 12.00 he leaves Catalunya in a positive and motivated frame of mind, and fully fit after a 2021 season which was impacted by injury.
Catalunya will ultimately host Round Eight of the WorldSBK championship between 23-25 September.
The final pre-season on-track preparations will be made at the Organiser’s Supported test days at Motorland Aragon, between 4-5 April. The first round of the season will take place at that same venue, from 8-10 April.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I had a good feeling here. We confirmed the items that we had found positive results with in both the Jerez and Portimao tests. The weather conditions were not perfect here and the temperature was quite low, but we were able to make a lot of laps, especially on Day One. Day Two was colder but we kept working with the base of the bike. I did some more practice starts on Day Two, so that is getting better. We made some progress in that area. I ended the test with a good feeling on the bike and I am really excited to go to Aragon. Everybody there will have the same strategy - to set-up for the weekend and then go into Free Practice 1. It has been a long but exciting off-season, with a lot of testing, and I have been healthy throughout. I am thankful to the team for all the hard work they have done. Now we get to go to a race weekend very soon. Thanks for the big effort, to everyone in KRT.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a good first day here. We did lot of laps, consistent laps, and confirmed a lot of the changes we had made in the previous winter tests. This morning we were limited on track time, and we wanted to try some different things on the back of the bike. The forecast had been quite bad so we were happy to get the good laps we did on the final day. The laps we did get were better than we expected after the weather forecast. I am ready to go now in Motorland Aragon in a couple of weeks. It has been nice to do a proper test with lots of good laps. My previous injuries feel good, my body feels good and that means I am ready to racing.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “This is the first test that all manufacturers, teams and riders have attended. Everybody was here, so it has been a little bit different compared to the previous ones. The riders always check the lap times, who is in front, which tyre the others are using. At this track the difference between times on the soft and hard tyres are quite big. Yesterday everybody was making a fast time on the soft tyres but this is maybe not realistic. The race in 19 laps, not five. We focused on our own testing. The first thing was to confirm the things we had already tested at Jerez and Portimao. The result has been positive. Then we also tried to understand some changes in the set-up, thinking about race weekend. We worked on the soft tyres and the hard tyres, so we can be ready for whatever we use when we come back to race here. We collected very good information, we did a race simulation, and we have the base package to start the championship in Motorland Aragon. We will check that again in the two days of official testing there. We feel ready. For sure this year will be very tough, as many people are going fast, but we are all happy.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “We had an early finish because it started to spit a bit with rain at lunchtime. It was a good test because Catalunya has always been hard for us in the past, but we arrived here with a clear idea about what our base bike would be for the first race in Aragon. We just had another opportunity to test some important items again on a different track. That is what we did on Day One. We had a nice day then, did a lot of laps and we had the same results from all our new components, like we had at Jerez and Portimao. We are confident we can say that our bike specification for Race One is done. Alex did a lot of laps on the first day and he was very fit from the first lap to the last. I appreciate and admire the efforts he has made over the winter to prepare himself. Now we are looking forward to Aragon. We are ready to start the season.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was also at the Catalunya tests, posting strong times as the Frenchman approaches his second WorldSBK season in his Italian-based team. Independent riders Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) also made their final private tests of the pre-season on their Ninja ZX-10RR machines.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 112 (97 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 215 (173 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 29 (9 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 171 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 489 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall