Another thrilling race in the WorldSBK championship saw Jonathan Rea involved in the fight for the lead from the first to almost the last lap. Running wide with six laps to go dropped Rea from contesting the lead in almost every corner of every lap to third at the chequered flag.
In Superpole qualifying Rea had started his approach to Race One in the best possible way, with a new track best of 1’35.346. It was his first Superpole of the season and the 36th of his career.
In the first race Rea would also take the new lap record, with a 1’36.204 set on lap four.
The front running battle was intense all the way; Rea rubbing tyres with the race leader Toprak Razgatlioglu at one stage. A mistake under braking from Razgatlioglu, into the Parabolica Interior corner, allowed Rea through to lead on lap six, with the KRT rider and Razgatlioglu passing and re-passing each other at every opportunity.
There were - officially - nine changes of lead as the riders passed the finish line, but other passes and attempts all through the first three-quarters of the race. The last lap would see Alvaro Bautista take the win, coming through from a difficult first lap.
Lowes placed eighth in Superpole qualifying, having run off track while on his way to improving his best time and starting position.
The race was a challenging affair for Alex, who ride consistently despite not having the front end feel he had hoped to find with his machine settings. Alex would finish lap one in fifth position, before dropping to eighth and then regaining a place to cross the finish line seventh.
In the championship battle itself the overnight points standings are Bautista 134, Rea 107, Razgatlioglu 84 and Lowes, in overall eighth place, 37.
Alex and Jonathan will now take part in two more races at Estoril, on Sunday 22 May - the Tissot Superpole Race over ten laps and Race Two, over 21 laps.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “That was a fight but I just didn’t have the bike set-up in the last laps. It was moving a lot, losing traction - especially entry traction. I could not stop the same as I could in the beginning of the race. We expected a lower track temperature over full race distance. I was happy to be there in the first ten laps, and I felt faster than Toprak at that point in the race but I made a mistake at T1 in braking and the lever came back to the handlebar. I could not make any more pressure so I was jumping on the back brake just to stop. I went wide and Alvaro came through. With him there I thought, ‘maybe he can take me to Toprak again?’ but I did not have the package today to fight right at the end. I am happy with the points and the podium but we have work to do tonight to try to be a bit more competitive tomorrow.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We did not feel as good as we expected to. We made a small set-up change for the race and with the SCO tyre option I did not have the speed at the start, but I was able to make a consistent race. We are going to analyse tonight how to improve the feeling on the front and make a decision on the rear tyre choice to give us a bit more performance. Overall, a tough race but I was a lot faster than last year. Obviously the level is always improving so we need to work hard to look for some improvements tomorrow.”
Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) qualified tenth in Superpole but was 17th in the race after experiencing some electrical issues.
Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 22nd in Superpole and then 20th in Race One. Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 21st in Superpole. After he was made to start the opening race from the back of the grid, and then had to enter the pits to make some adjustments, Isaac finished two laps down and in 21st place.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 7, Wins 3, Podiums 6, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 115 (100 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 221 (179 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 36 (32 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 7, 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: 495 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 101 – second overall