The new 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR has shown itself well in the previous winter tests, even if weather conditions have not been as consistently good as the riders and team would have liked. Confidence is high inside the KRT camp after several successful outings with their new technical package, but this coming test is arguably the most important one of all.
At the recent Motorland tests near the end of April Rea and Lowes almost completed all their off-season set-up preparations, just losing some potential track time to changeable weather conditions. If the predictions for good weather for the next tests prove to be true then the last tasks can all be completed in readiness for the first ‘real’ practice sessions of the new season.
The new Ninja features, engine, chassis and most noticeably aerodynamic improvements, including internal front winglets and a vented rear seat unit to provide extra downforce at speed and a more efficient aerodynamic package overall.
Preparing for two full-distance and one sprint races in Aragon is going to be key for both riders in the next few days, particularly as the season starts with back-to-back rounds at Motorland in Spain and then Estoril in Portugal.
Despite the ongoing pandemic the season itself is scheduled to host 13 rounds all in, most occurring in Europe but with two final flyaway events; one in Argentina and one at an entirely new venue in Indonesia.
Alex Lowes, stated: “These final tests are going to be the most important ones. We still have a clear plan which is following on from the last test where we only got half a day riding in with the weather going against us. So, we know what things we need to get ticked off the list before round one. I understand what I need from the bike a lot more this winter, which is allowing me to be better prepared for my second season with Kawasaki and KRT. Because of this I’m really excited to get back out on my new Ninja ZX-10RR.”
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We really will cross the t’s and dot the i’s at this final test at Motorland Aragon. The last test we went to there was productive, and we made some progress, but we never got the chance to do a full race simulation. That is going to be key, something we need to look at understand the bike in a race simulation, with a soft tyre and hard tyre. Aside from that, our test programme has really been about confirming different software and hardware. We have put the pieces together but we have not fine-tuned the bike. We have not got the bike into the window where we are really starting to play with small items, like you would during a race weekend. That is going to be the focus of this test and I really hope to get some consistent weather. I don’t think I have done a winter test this year where we have had two days of the same weather. I really have to thank my team because they have pulled all the stops out to maximise our track time this off-season. We have just been unfortunate with the weather and we have a very good test plan to take us through the season. During these tough times it is very hard to travel and they team make it easier by making sure I always have the right documents. I am looking forward to this last test before the season starts because we will have some of our rivals on track with us as well, riders and manufacturers, so we should get a good idea of where we are.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “In the last couple of tests we did the weather was for sure not as good as we would like, but the forecast for the next two-day test is good. This should allow us to work consistently with no interruptions. I think the next test will be so important to fix the small details before the first round. We are focused now to polish these small details and prepare for full race distances. We will try to make a big competition between Alex and Jonathan, in order to reach the limits on the bike and in the consistency of lap times. We need to prepare for the races, which at Motorland are hard every year. The competition is so high, especially from the Ducati machines, but we expect that all the steps that have been done with the new Ninja ZX-10RR will show that the package is a step ahead compared to last year. I would also like to use this opportunity to congratulate Dorna for the big effort to make 13 rounds possible. It is nice to have the final calendar confirmed, and hopefully the pandemic situation will be stable, step-by-step, and by the end of the year the world will stay in a much more normal way.”
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 99 (84 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 185 (143 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 27 (23 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, 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)
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: 158 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 454 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 92 – second overall