The eagerly anticipated return of WorldSBK to the 4.592km long Portimao circuit, located close to the Algarve coastline of southern Portugal, started well for both KRT riders.
Rea and Lowes working with regular racing tyres as they each set out to find an effective machine set-up for their riding styles and the heavily undulating Portimao circuit layout.
After recent private tests since the previous round of the championship in Barcelona-Catalunya Rea used that experience with his team to find a platform to work from at Portimao, which has been one of Rea’s favourite and most rewarding circuits. Finding more corner entry traction is his priority on Saturday in FP3, before Superpole qualifying and Race One.
After two sessions on the opening day at Portimao Lowes is looking for improved stopping performance at one of the most intensely undulating and dramatic WorldSBK tracks there is.
Second fastest in the FP2 session in the afternoon Rea would end up fourth overall, while Alex was seventh on the combined timesheets.
Next up for the WorldSBK riders on Saturday 8 October will be a third free practice session, then Superpole Qualifying and a full distance 21-lap Race One.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We found some positives during some private testing we did last week and we just confirmed some items here. We have found a base set-up but I am struggling a little bit with entry traction - it’s backing in on the rear - so we need to find more entry traction for the first race. I felt my rhythm was good; I just didn’t find that one out-and-out lap time. For day one, I feel we were there or thereabouts.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “Not a bad first day at Portimao but we were struggling to stop the bike a little bit. Now we have clear ideas on what to try tomorrow to improve that and make a step forward. It’s always so much fun to ride here, because of the nature of the circuit, so I’m excited to get into some racing tomorrow.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) ended his first day in Portugal in 17th place, with Leon Haslam (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 18th in his return to the WorldSBK paddock. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 26th today.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 24, Wins 5, Podiums 18, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 117 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 233 (191 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 39 (35 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 23, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 31 (11 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: 509 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 104 – second overall