For Rea it will be a particularly quick restart after taking two podium finishes and a Superpole Qualifying ‘win’ at the most recent round in Motorland Aragon, which was completed just a couple of days ago.
For Lowes it will be a quick return to race action after a very recent surgery on his left knee prevented him from riding at the Motorland Aragon round alongside his team-mate Rea and all their rivals.
Portimao, as the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is often referred to, is one of Rea’s all-time favourite circuits and one of his most rewarding. He has recorded 24 rostrum finishes there over his career, including 13 individual race wins.
After scoring several podium places over the past few rounds Rea enters the penultimate championship round ready to fight for more rostrum finishes to add to his total of 16 podiums so far in 2023.
Lowes comes back to the track looking for podiums despite his recent knee surgery. He will first have to check how his knee stands up to the rigours of two free practice sessions on Friday but he is confident that if all is well he will be capable of fighting for podium places.
The imminent challenge for all riders at Portimao is a difficult one, at what is arguably the most undulating and intense track layout the riders have to face in this or any other WorldSBK season. The 4.592km long circuit was first used for WorldSBK action in 2008, and has been the scene of several pivotal moments in the championship’s history ever since.
Featuring a very high number of blind corner entries and even a jump over a rise at one particularly busy sector of the track, Portimao also has a very long main straight, approached while already in fourth gear from the exit fo the final downhill curve. The T1 braking area is also downhill at Portimao, adding to the already strong mix of challenges posed by this unique circuit located in the hills behind some of the main holiday resorts of the Algarve coast.
In the current championship standings Rea is third and Lowes is ninth. There are two rounds to go, including Portimao, and therefore a total of six individual races to face before the season wraps up at the end of the 12th and final round. at Jerez de la Frontera in October 1.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Portimao is a circuit that I really enjoy and I have had some great races there. The nature of the track is incredible and it is unique. It reminds me of my days of motocrossing, with its undulations, blind corners and off camber sections. It is a very challenging track. You are always in pursuit of the perfect lap around Portimao. You always feel that you could do something that little bit better. We will try to search for perfection this weekend after a string of solid race weekends. Approaching Portimao we have to keep our sights on the podium, enjoy riding the bike and work hard in free practices to be fast and also consistent in race conditions. Portimao is an event that we always have a lot of travelling support at from back home, so I am looking forward to that. Hopefully we can go out and bag some big points.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I’m excited to get back on the bike this weekend at Portimao. I’ve been working hard since my operation to get myself back to fitness. Portimao itself is a great race track that I really enjoy riding at. As long as it goes well on Friday in the opening practice sessions, and my knee is feeling good after the surgery, I expect to be strong. The goal as always is to be fighting at the front with the aim to return to the podium places.”
Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will head to Portimao looking for championship points, like his fellow Independent Team riders in Ninja ZX-10RR machinery, Isaac Vinales (TPR by Vinales Racing Kawasaki) and Oliver König (Orelac Racing Movisio Kawasaki).
2023 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2023: Races 30, Wins 1, Podiums 16, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 119 (104 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 261 (219 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 42 (38 for Kawasaki)
2023: Races: 26, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 34 (14 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: 178 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 540 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 107 – second overall