With some grey clouds above them but having a dry track to ride on for all of FP1 and the vast majority of FP2, Rea and Haslam set about the task of matching the new Ninja ZX-10RR to the 5.077km long Motorland Aragon circuit.
In finishing third overall in the combined times Rea was 0.542 seconds back from early pace-setter Alvaro Bautista, but just 0.023 from second placed rider Alex Lowes.
Rea was able to combine his race set-up duties with evaluating new Pirelli front and rear tyres today, finding positives in some areas. Like his peer group he will now face a final free practice session on Saturday morning, Superpole qualifying and then a full distance 18-lap opening race.
After a undergoing a recent operation on his left ankle to remove a cyst, Haslam concentrated on his main task today; trying to improve front end confidence. He also stated that back pain has been suffering from recently is much-reduced and did not affect his riding on the opening day at Motorland.
With rainfall finally affecting the very last minutes of the first day all riders and teams will be hoping for dry weather for the rest of the weekend, to build on the positive work already completed today.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Not too bad today but this morning I struggled with some things, on the bike and with myself in the way I was riding. Things were not happening naturally. This afternoon we made some changes and I felt immediately more at home. We were just evaluating and trying to make subtle changes because we do not have too much time anymore, with two sessions on Friday in 2019. You do not have another chance now to make a change. Pirelli have also brought some different front and rear tyres to test. On the front I tried the ‘C’ option tyre which is more like the SC2 family that I liked before. We are making progress.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “I am not too worried about our position in the rankings today but I was struggling a little bit. Not so much with the track but with the feeling while getting the bike stopped. It is one of those circuits where you have to be in a good smooth rhythm and at the minute I am not too confident getting the bike into the corners. It is something we are going to work on. The times are pretty close for the majority of them, around mid 1’50s, to low 1’51s. Round here, you have to be at that rhythm to be in the fight. I feel that we will be there, that is not an issue. I just have to get my confidence set, especially on corner entry.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) placed 13th today, making him the best Kawasaki Independent Rider. He was followed closely by Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) in 14th and Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) in 15th.
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 6, Wins 0, Podiums 6, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 140 (98 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 17 (13 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 6, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 41 (3 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 388 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 82 – second overall