Two WorldSBK riders and one from WorldSSP will hit Portimao on Thursday and Friday as part of the build-up to the 2021 season
The next step on the road to the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season takes the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK and Orelac Racing VerdNatura into Portugal as they prepare for a two-day test at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will be the sole representative for KRT as Alex Lowes continues to recover from a shoulder injury, while Orelac Racing will have WorldSBK rookie Isaac Viñales, WorldSSP Challenge competitor Leonardo Taccini on track and Italian Raffaele De Rosa out on track.
The test at Portimao will take place over two days with track action taking place on Thursday and Friday from 10am to 5pm (Local Time/GMT). The circuit is set to host the Portuguese Round of the 2021 season at the start of October and gives both KRT and Orelac a chance to test their machines on a track that provides different challenges to those used so far in testing.
Lowes injured his shoulder in a flat track crash in February and subsequently missed one test day at Jerez with the team looking for him to test at Portimao. However, his recovery is still ongoing as he works with doctors in order to fully repair his shoulder. It means Rea will be the only KRT rider on track as the team looks to continue developing the brand new ZX-10RR introduced for the 2021 campaign.
Discussing that he won’t take part in the Portimao test, Lowes said: “I am working hard on my recovery with the doctors in Barcelona. I want to see all the guys from the team and join them at the track as soon as possible. Of course, I cannot wait to ride my new Ninja ZX-10RR again.”
Looking ahead to the test, Rea said: “It is really good to test again and I am excited to ride the bike - especially during these strange and unknown times. We have got some consistency going inside KRT since we tested in November, then again recently at Jerez. It is good to keep the rhythm going with the new Ninja ZX-10RR race bike before the start of the season. We have already tested some new ideas with power characteristics from the engine although the weather conditions were not 100%. So, the main thing we have to do at this test is to confirm things on the engine side and then fix our gearbox ratios. We aim to keep building speed and keep building confidence.”
WorldSBK rookie Viñales will also be on track as he looks to get up to speed ahead of his debut campaign following two strong WorldSSP seasons in 2019 and 2020 which earned him a seat in WorldSBK. Having joined the Orelac Racing VerdNatura outfit for 2021, Viñales will be hoping to continue his strong form into his maiden WorldSBK campaign and the two-day test will give him the perfect opportunity to get ready for the 2021 season.
Also joining Viñales from Orelac Racing is WorldSSP Challenge rider Leonardo Taccini, who is making his debut in WorldSSP for the 2021 season. The 18-year-old will compete in the European rounds of WorldSSP this season as he looks to claim the WorldSSP Challenge title in his rookie campaign and, like Viñales, will be using this test to get up to speed ahead of the season. Taccini’s teammate, Raffaele De Rosa, will also be on track at Portimao as he gets to know his new team with the Italian contesting the full WorldSSP season in 2021 and looking to mount a title challenge.
You can watch action from WorldSBK and WorldSSP throughout 2021 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!
Follow live timing from the Portimao test HERE.