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SBK, Rea: "In Portimao test I was riding with a smile on my face"

The Kawasaki team concluded a day of testing in Portugal. Setup experiments and some new pieces for Johnny and Lowes

SBK: Rea: "In Portimao test I was riding with a smile on my face"


In warm conditions at the 4.592km long Autodromo Internacional do Algarve both riders had the freedom to try new set-up ideas. The increasing track temperature in the afternoon was particularly useful to simulate the conditions they expect in the find in the next few races; first in France and then Spain and Portugal.

On a relatively new track surface at Portimao, and one which needed some tyre rubber laid down on the racing line this morning to normalise grip characteristics, Kawasaki’s official WorldSBK team collected valuable data, and even had time to try some new items for the future.

Rea was enthusiastic about his opportunity to test again at one of his favourite circuits, especially before such an intense run of WorldSBK rounds loom over the horizon.

Evaluating various chassis and geometry options Rea also completed a race simulation to be ready to race when he and his Ninja ZX-10RR will take on the challenge of the Portimao circuit for real between 1-3 October.

Lowes was able to experiment with front end settings away from the time pressures and demands of finding a specific set-up and tyre choice during race weekends. He declared himself happy with the progress he and his technical staff had made, especially in hot track conditions.

Alex finished his day of on-bike work shortly before the last available period of track time, to prepare for the next round at Magny Cours in France.

Now the KRT duo look forward to the next full race weekend, which will take place at the Magny Cours circuit between 3-5 September.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been a very positive test. We did a lot of laps and the track was consistent. There was not so much rubber down initially but step-by-step the track surface went in a really good way. We managed to do a long run with race tyres and we also worked on different geometries. We fine-tuned the set-up of the bike for the Portimao race weekend when it comes around. The new surface is great and I really enjoyed riding on it. I felt at one with the bike and I also felt like my riding was a little bit better at this test. I think I have a bike set-up now that I am happy with, that I enjoy. I was riding with a smile on my face and giving good feedback to the engineers. Massive thanks to the crew and management of the team for making this big effort to test.

Alex Lowes, stated: “This morning was good. We tried three or four different options on the front end of the bike and we also had some parts to try. We made some geometry changes which gave me some quite positive feedback. In the afternoon when the temperatures got higher we tried a longer run race in preparation for the race weekend at Portimao at the start of October. I had a good feeling with the bike. The Ninja ZX-10RR was working really well around Portimao. It was a very positive test for us so I am happy with that.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “The track was hot in the afternoon and the temperature got up to 45-48°C. That was important for us because the next few races should be held under hot conditions. I was hoping for these kind of conditions here in Portimao and we got them. After the two recent rounds in Most and Navarra, new tracks for us and a little bit different from the ones we are used to, we collected some good information, but also had some difficulties. Mainly in terms of balance and engine management - which are always linked together. We collected good information at this one day test and Johnny was talking quite deeply with the bike. We tried a few different things to understand the next couple of races and have the best base to start from. We also tried a couple of new items to collect information for the future. We had no issues, understood the points we wanted to and now we are looking forward to go to Magny Cours.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “This test was good for us. The track surface has changed since last year and it was a bit of a surprise how the tyres responded to it at first. We knew from the last couple of WorldSBK rounds  which way we wanted to go with the chassis set-up and we tried out three different items on the bike. We did 55 laps in all, confirmed those items and Alex did a race run at the end. I had a very happy rider at the end of the day.

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