The first day at Round Three of the 2022 WorldSBK championship saw Rea and Lowes with a dry track surface to work with as each rider used their time to evaluate overall machine set-up across two 45-minute free practice sessions.
Rea made some changes after the first session and immediately found improvements that translated to better pace in FP2. Rea was fourth overall in the combined practice times at this modern classic 4.182km long circuit close to Lisbon.
A change in set-up for Lowes in the middle of the opening day did not deliver the improvements that were expected and despite setting a faster single lap time in FP2 than FP1 he ended up 11th fastest overall. Alex and his technical crew will now go through their Friday data to find their optimal settings to take on the next challenges Estoril will provide.
The Saturday action for the WorldSBK teams at Estoril will comprise FP3 in the morning, Superpole qualifying and then a full distance 21-lap Race One.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “This morning I didn’t feel so good with the bike set-up. We used the harder rear tyre to clean the track and understand things more exactly. The fact that this year we have one less tyre in our allocation means you have to strategically understand how to manage the tyres. So this morning the idea was to ride with the same rear tyre, clean the track, get the feeling and we managed to set the bike up quite well. In the afternoon I was fast straight away and felt good. We came in, made a pitstop and tried something a little bit different with the bike. The set-up change was good in the heavy braking areas but in areas where I was trail braking, I missed a little bit. It was a good day of understanding the bike. I feel like our pace is right there, no more, no less, with Alvaro and Toprak. Tomorrow, we need to maximise the potential of a new tyre.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “It has been nice to get back out on the bike after a few weeks off. I felt pretty good straight away this morning in FP1 but we sort of went the wrong way with the set-up in the afternoon. We were just trying to get a bit of a better feeling, especially trying to enter the corners, but we saw that it was worse. So we’re going to look through things tonight and make a plan for tomorrow. I enjoyed riding the bike and I am looking forward to FP3 already.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was tenth in the Friday practice times, the second fastest Kawasaki rider on display.
Isaac Vinales (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 22nd in his first ride with his new team. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) placed 23rd in his early Estoril learning process during his rookie WorldSBK season.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 6, Wins 3, Podiums 5, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 115 (100 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 220 (178 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 6, 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: 174 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 494 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall