The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

25 Tammikuu 2024

Positive First 2024 Test For KRT

The opening test sessions of the new year took place between 24-25 January at the same venue that hosted the last 2023 tests, the Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto. After two days of dry and often unseasonably warm conditions the refreshed KRT squad completed several important development and race set-up tasks as the start of the 2024 racing season itself approaches in just a month’s time.

On each day at Jerez the track was cool in the morning but soon warmed up in the bright sunshine, offering up largely consistent conditions to carry out the planned schedule of work.

Lowes had a tough opening day on track after suffering with a stomach bug but he recovered well enough to post 82 laps on the final day, with a best lap time of 1’38.989. 

Newcomer to KRT this year, Axel Bassani, is still learning the finer points of his Ninja ZX-10RR as he grows into his role as a factory rider for the first time in his WorldSBK career.

Axel and his pit drew found improvements in ergonomics and overall set-up at this test, and gained valuable data in dry track conditions. He was 15th overall, with a best single lap time of 1’39.419.

Florian Marino, the team’s test rider, also set a few laps each day to help with the combined workload at this important point in the pre-season preparations.

Next up for the KRT squad will be another two day test, this time at the Autodromo internacional do Algarve in Portugal, between 29-30 January.

Soon after that test the official machines and race parts will be packed up and flown to Australia in readiness for the final official test sessions and then first round of the new season.

Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a good day of work today. We are trying to make the bike easier on used tyres, and that was our main focus. We lost a bit of performance on fresh tyres, but I think that’s what we need to do with our bike because we have always been really fast at qualifying and Superpole races, but we lack a bit when it comes to race distance. So we are trying to make the bike a bit easier. Honestly, it felt quite good today and because the conditions were consistent, everyone was fast. You always want to go better but after being sick yesterday, 82 laps was a decent day’s work. I am happy enough.”

Axel Bassani, stated: “We tried a lot of things, a lot of set-up things and different tyres. We did a lot of jobs, and we started to understand what I needed to change and what I need to change in my riding style. The last part of today was good, and we began to improve. I think we did a good job, had a good test, and now we have a lot of data to help us go better at Portimao.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “The test was very positive. I am happy with the result and happy with Alex. We have already done 1500km or so this winter and no one crashed, so we got very good information. We tested a lot of things and worked in many different areas, including the chassis and electronics. I am happy with the step we made in electronics. Most importantly we focused 100% with lap time stability to make the same lap time in the first lap and the last one. This is the target as this was our weakest point, and we made a good step. Alex is working very well and I am pleased. Now we go to Portimao and we will keep working.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Axel Bassani, stated: “It was good at this test, and I think everybody was ready to get back into action after an eight week break, which felt way too long this time. We had really nice weather in this test and after two tests in November, we had gathered a lot of information. The targets were very clear for his first January test. We ticked off all the items and we made some improvements on Axel’s riding position on the bike, and some changes on the geometry of the bike. We improved literally in every area. Alex Lowes is, of course, the reference on this bike. Our target is, at every single test, to come closer and closer and we reached that target at this test. We have a little bit of data to analyse at home and I am looking forward to Portimao.”

As well as the official KRT riders, Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was out on a KRT supplied Ninja ZX-10RR at this first 2024 test. The Spanish rider set a best lap of 1’40.100, which placed him 19th overall. He set no less than 87 laps on day one, which was more than any other WorldSBK rider at that early stage.