The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

28 Tammikuu 2024

Portimao Test Next Up For KRT Duo

KRT riders Alex Lowes and his new team-mate Axel Bassani are heading to Portugal and the heavily undulating Autodromo Internacional do Algarve circuit between 29-30 January, to take part in another important pre-season test with their Ninja ZX-10RR machines.

A recent and very positive two day test at Jerez in Spain provided good data and valuable track time for all the team personnel as they make preparations for the first round of the WorldSBK season, to be held in Australia in late February.

Portimao, as the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is often called, is a very different kind of circuit from the largely flat Jerez. Being located in the hills behind many of the Algarve coast’s holiday hotspots, Portimao features significant rises and dips, a fast downhill/uphill final corner, with each flying lap rounded out by a very long straight and a downhill braking section into the first complex of corners.

Lowes, one of the most experienced WorldSBK riders on the grid, will continue to refine a season-starting full race set-up after some technical changes to his machine this winter, partly due to new regulations. He will also work on consistency at race pace, which is an especially important element of bike set-up at the host venue for the opening round, Phillip Island. Lowes was suffering from the negative effects of a stomach virus at Jerez, meaning the Portimao test should be more representative of Alex’s performance.

Bassani is a new signing for Kawasaki and KRT after riding a very different configuration of machine over the previous three years. Axel is still learning how to maximise the Ninja ZX-10RR’s characteristics, while his technical crew are understanding how to best utilise their new riders’ undoubted talents to the full.

Immediately after the Portimao track sessions are complete the official race machines and ancillary equipment will be returned to the team’s headquarters in Catalunya, to be sent out to by air to Australia just a few days afterwards.

The next on-track action after Portimao will be two days of official testing at Phillip Island, on 19-20 February, before the race season itself starts between 23-25 February.

Alex Lowes, stated: “After we restarted on track at Jerez we now head to Portimao, which is very undulating. We did a lot of laps at Jerez and it is quite a flat track. I would not say Jerez is an easy track - none of them are easy - but Portimao is a different challenge. If the work we have done with the electronics package - on corner exit, torque control and all the things we have been working on - also works well at Portimao then I will be really, really happy.”

Axel Bassani, stated: “Next test for us is Portimao, which is a very different kind of track from Jerez. Now we need to improve on the entry of the corners because I have some problems with grip. We have to improve the corner entry and the turning of the bike. We are working a lot on that and I hope in Portimao to have some improvement. Portimao has a lot of up and down and wheelies. But usually Kawasaki is strong there so we will see how we are when we get there.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “We will go back to the track after just a three day break since the Jerez test to continue working in items we have introduced on the bike. Axel made good steps in Jerez and is closer to the place we want him to be in his first season with KRT. Alex is working very well and we are trying to make him more consistent. We are sacrificing some speed to gain race-long performance. We saw an exciting show during testing at Jerez, with many riders pushing hard. It is good to have difficult challenges, so we are all working hard to be ready for Australia so that we can be an important part of the show.”

Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will continue to work on his team’s Ninja ZX-10RR at Portimao, which this year is supplied directly by KRT.