On a weather-affected day Rea and Lowes navigated their way through a wet FP3 session this morning, with Jonathan fastest and Alex seventh. Starting from the front row and the third row of the grid respectively, Rea went on to win from his main championship rival Scott Redding by 2.625 seconds, while Alex encountered some issues with front-end slides to still finish inside the top ten.
In Tissot-Superpole, held between FP3 and the first WorldSBK race itself, Rea took his fourth success in a row and the 27th of his career, lifting him to third in the all-time statistics in his own right. At this new circuit for WorldSBK he also set the new track best with a 1’41.619.
Lowes was eighth in Superpole, earning a third row starting position for the first two races in Catalunya.
The opening race itself was finally held in dry conditions and Rea’s leading pace allowed him to manage it from the front in the final few laps before the chequered flag. He had set the fastest lap of the race, and as a consequence the new lap record of 1’42.797, on lap two of the 20. He has now scored nine race wins in 2020.
With the first raceday completed there will be two more chances for the KRT riders to go for wins on Sunday – in the 10 lap Superpole sprint race and then a full distance-lap 20-lap finale, at an unusual starting time of 15.00, not the more usual 14.00.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was super-good to win here. I had a lot of motivation in this race. It is my team’s home race and Ana Carrasco could not be here in the WorldSSP300 class, so this win was for her - and also for my Grandfather, as it is the 27th anniversary of his death today. I was using this to give me power in the race, to never rest and never give up. I am super-happy for my team and me, because, literally, our workshops are located just behind the main grandstand. It is a happy day and I just wish the fans and families could be here to celebrate with us. We also have a lot of information for tomorrow, and I am looking forward to that one because in the last lap today the front was moving quite a lot. In this temperature at this grip level we just need a little bit more for tomorrow.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I felt better this morning in the wet, after making some changes from yesterday, which was good. Superpole was tricky and we had a little issue that held us back. From the result of the tests we did here I was quite pumped up for the race, and I expected to have quite a good result. I struggled from the early stages, having some big slides on the front, even after three or four laps. I was right with the second group but from then on I realised I had to finish the race as well as I could, take information and try to improve for tomorrow. It was disappointing because I expected to be quite strong.”
Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 13th today, having been 14th in Superpole. Regular rider Maximilian Scheib (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was ruled out of the race with an injury while stand-in rider Valentin Debise (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) was 20th today.
2020 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
2020: Races 16, Wins 9, Podiums 14, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 97 (82 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 182 (140 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 27 (23 for Kawasaki)
2020: Races: 16, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 22 (2 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
7 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
5 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018 & 2019)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 156 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 449 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 92 – second overall