The latest of Jonathan Rea’s six championship wins, all as an official Kawasaki rider, came after some early dramas as he fell in Tissot Superpole qualifying and had to start from the fifth row of the grid.
Moving up to second place long before half race distance on his Ninja ZX-10RR Rea pushed hard inside the podium positions but had to settle for fourth place at the chequered flag.
On the slow down lap he celebrated his latest championship success on track with a golden crash helmet, six ‘Superbowl style’ winners’ rings and special T-shirts for him all his team, marking his remarkable sextet of straight championship victories in memorable fashion.
Rea still has one more major landmark to shoot for in 2020, as a next WorldSBK race victory would make it a magical 100 in all since he first started out in WorldSBK over a decade ago.
Lowes had a tough and determined fight against both the official Honda machines in race one, as he showed his characteristic grit and desire, finishing inside the top six at a circuit completely new to him this weekend.
One ten lap and a final 21-lap WorldSBK race remain for Jonathan and Alex at Estoril on Sunday, with each out to end what has been at times a highly unusual eight round championship campaign with a flourish.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I have no feeling right now; I cannot even look back. It has been an incredible journey this season. I want to thank WorldSBK, Dorna, all the circuits and organisers to even get racing this year. In the middle of what everyone has experienced in 2020 sport always comes second – but we managed to race. I miss the fans here, I miss not having my family and friends here, and all my travelling support from back home in Northern Ireland; I really miss that. They cannot be here right now but it is for all of them and my Kawasaki Racing Team, for keeping pushing this season. We started behind like last year but never gave up. It has been a hell of a journey and I am so happy.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “First of all I am so happy for all the Kawasaki guys and Jonathan. For the whole of KRT, and especially for the guys on his side of the garage. It is so hard to win a world championship let alone six in a row, so big respect to them. I am proud to be part of the team and let’s hope next year we can get involved too and make it a bit harder for him. In Superpole I feel like I did not do a very good lap on the qualifying tyre. There are quite a few corners here that you are on the side of the tyre for a long time and with the Q it just upset the front a bit, which I did not expect. In the race I got a good start but I wasn’t fast enough in the first few laps. I got into a battle with the two Hondas and I felt I was faster than those guys but they kept passing me and I would get back onto them, but and then the same thing would happen again. It was a bit of a frustrating race because I could not find my own rhythm. I feel that if I could have done, I could have got away a little bit.”
Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished in a strong eighth place in race one, with Sheridan Morais (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 16th and Loris Cresson (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) 18th.
2020 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2020: Races 22, Wins 11, Podiums 17, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 99 (84 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 185 (143 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 27 (23 for Kawasaki)
2020: Races: 22, Wins 1, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 24 (4 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)
5 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018 & 2019)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 158 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 454 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 92 – second overall