Rea was second fastest in the afternoon FP2 session but a fall of light rain with a just a few minutes to go prevented several riders from improving on their best FP1 times around the 4.657km long circuit. There were also several different front and rear tyre options for the riders to evaluate at a circuit which has a reputation for accelerated tyre wear compared to come other venues.
There was one clear leader on day one, local rider Iker Lecuona, but the margins between the next best times were much closer, all of which augurs well for Rea’s race ambitions when the points scoring competition starts for real on Saturday.
Rea rode with one of his main championship rivals, Alvaro Bautista, for some laps in the FP1 session, as they both exited pitlane at the same time.
Lowes was looking good for a top five finish but he just touched the green-painted track limits area on the outside of Turn 13 and lost one lap time from his official record, He had just passed the finish line under a chequered flag on that lap, losing his subsequent even faster lap time. As a result Alex had to rely on his morning session time which left him in eighth place
Now Rea and Lowes will face FP3 qualifying on Saturday morning, to be followed by Superpole qualifying for final grid positions, and then the full distance Race One.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We had to compare two front tyres, back-to-back, and two rears. We know this track consumes tyres for everybody. I felt good with my ultimate pace and we just need to improve the consistency. Alvaro is very strong, and it seems they started in a really good way. In some areas we need to make the bike a little bit easier to ride, so that when the tyre drops I am not fighting with the bike so much, especially in stopping and turning. We have a few areas to look at tomorrow thinking about tyre conservation in a long race. I did a long run in the afternoon, three laps short of race distance, and the drop was less severe than last year.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “Overall today was good but we struggled a little bit with front tyre wear after 11 or 12 laps, so this is something we need to focus on. The front grip seemed to drop quite a lot for me. The rear, not so much. I did a really fast lap at the end of the day, but rolled out on the green track limits paint, and I just caught the chequered flag too. I didn’t realise and the next lap was even faster, which would have put us in the top three. Our new tyre performance is quite good, but we need to work a little bit on used tyres. But it’s great to be here at the team’s home race. They have lots of people here, friends and family, so the atmosphere is great. I am looking forward to the first race tomorrow.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 13th in the early weekend rankings, setting his personal best in FP2.
Rookie WorldSBK rider Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was a noteworthy 18th of the 24 WorldSBK riders, with Oscar Gutierrez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 22nd.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 21, Wins 5, Podiums 16, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 117 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 231 (189 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 39 (35 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 20, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 30 (10 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: 176 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 506 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 104 – second overall