Rea takes to the track in Spain as Lowes’ injury forces him to miss testing

Friday, 12 February 2021 08:28 GMT

After a disrupted start to testing in January, reigning Champion Rea hit the Jerez circuit to continue developing the new ZX-10RR while Lowes misses out due to a shoulder injury

Weeks after weather disrupted their plans to test at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK returned to the Andalusian circuit to continue their preparations for the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season with six-time Champion Jonathan Rea continuing the development of the brand-new Kawasaki ZX-10RR while Lowes was unable to test after sustaining a minor injury during a flat track crash.

Rea was the only rider from KRT to take advantage of a clear spell as teammate Lowes had sustained a slight injury to his shoulder on Saturday, meaning he was ruled out of track action with the team preferring him to recover fully ahead of their next test in Portimao at the start of March. KRT were one of a number of teams who had planned to test at Jerez in the middle of January but poor weather conditions disrupted their plans, with the team not taking to the track again until this week when they returned to Jerez.

Rea was able to complete 40 laps during his test day with a best time of 1’40.6 set on race tyres although the track was not completely dry with damp patches still lingering from Wednesday’s wet weather. The team had hoped to test on Wednesday but rain prevented them from going out on track, with teams and riders limited to just ten days of private testing.

Reigning Champion Rea said: “It has been so nice to ride my bike after what feels like such a long time. I want to really thank my team for the huge effort to be here. Travelling in this moment is difficult for everybody. We intended to test on Wednesday but we got bad weather. We made another effort to stay and we got some productive laps in on Thursday. I thank them for the huge effort – everybody - and it was such a positive test. We had to confirm some items we had been working on in the off-season and I had a really good feeling. The track wasn’t in perfect condition because some corners were still damp but I was able to understand the bike, understand the changes, and give lots of good information and data to the engineers. It did not take me so long to get into the swing of things. I am leaving the test very happy with what we have done, and I feel great on the bike. The work I have been doing at home has been paying off as well and I am looking forward to riding again.”

Pere Riba, Rea’s Crew Chief, stated: “We finally got to test after the rain and we got to almost three hours on track in the afternoon. It was important as we had some things to test on the engine side; different maps and electronics that we had been working a lot with in the winter. It was very important to test - but to test in dry conditions. It did not make sense in wet conditions. This afternoon we were able to test all the things we wanted to. We collected all the information, and I am very happy. These kinds of things request the understanding and feeling of the rider and I am pleased to leave from with some laps completed and we can use the data to make the next steps. The lap times were not a reference level, as some corners of the track were a little bit damp. The track was not fully dry, but it was good enough. Johnny is leaving from this test happy and with a good feeling. Of course, we have to confirm these things at other tracks, when we go to test there. Overall, this was a good test, and I am happy.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “We knew that Ducati and HRC were testing at Jerez, so we decided to share this test with them. It was raining yesterday but this morning we realised we could make a few laps in the afternoon, so it has been useful. Inside the new rules, that allow a maximum of ten testing days, this now counts as a half day of testing. We used this half day to check a few points we considered would be interesting for Jonathan to understand the bike development for 2021. It was a useful test and we have gathered more information. Regarding Alex, he had been testing and training around Barcelona, to prepare for the start of the season, but he had a small crash while flat track riding. He hit his shoulder and damaged it a little bit. Because he could not stay at 100%, we considered that it would not be useful for him to make laps if he cannot ride at his full performance. We prefer him to recover for the next two weeks. At the next test in Portimao, it will be another chance for him.”

Follow more WorldSBK action in 2021 with the comprehensive WorldSBK VideoPass!