Despite strenuous efforts to host the 2021 Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance World Championship race this coming November 7 local Japanese health regulations have forced the cancellation of the event this year, partly because of an exponential rise in Covid-19 cases since the Tokyo Olympics were run a few weeks ago.
The disappointing but not entirely unexpected cancellation comes after significant work had been carried out to prepare machinery for the race, both in Japan and at KRT’s headquarters in Barcelona.
Everyone involved hopes that this work and preparation will be put to good use in the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours event, which has already been rescheduled to its usual summer slot in July.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was also expecting to partner Rea and Lowes at Suzuka this year, in what is his first full season as a WorldSBK rider on the Ninja ZX-10RR.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It’s a real shame to miss out on the Suzuka 8 Hours because it is always a nice opportunity to meet all the top management from Kawasaki and all the Kawasaki fans from Asia that support us all year round. It is an incredible race from a mechanical point of view, a human point of view. Of course we have to follow all the safety protocols for the event, I fully stand by that and it is better to make that decision now than creeping up closer to the race. I hope to revisit Suzuka in the future.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I am very disappointed not to be going there. I was so excited, firstly to partner with Johnny, because I think we would make such a good team. Secondly, to go back to a track and an event that I have had a lot of success at. To ride for Kawasaki in Japan is something that I am looking forward to doing. I was really looking forward to that, so I am sad that we are not doing it this year plus meeting all the guys over there. It is a disappointment it is not on the calendar.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “It was a big challenge to run the Suzuka 8H this year, especially when KHI entrusted KRT staff to manage it, in coordination with KHI engineers. Big credit for KHI’s efforts to try come back to normality after the Covid situation, trying to give hope to the racing fans and providing them some nice entertainment. In the end, logistical and Covid complications did not let it happen. For sure KHI’s commitment in the future will continue with a determination to come back stronger and try to defend the No. 1 we took in 2019. Our package in 2021 was promising - Rea and Lowes, supported by Mahias. For sure it would be a nice show. Let’s see if this is one step back to make many bigger steps forward in the near future.”
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 21, Wins 8, Podiums 19, Superpoles 7
Career Race Wins: 107 (92 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 204 (162 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 34 (30 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 21, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 28 (8 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: 166 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 477 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 99 – second overall
Kawasaki Suzuka 8 Hours Statistics
2 x Wins: 2019 Rea/Haslam/Razgatlioglu (Ninja ZX-10RR) and 1993 Russell/Slight (ZXR-7)