Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes will shortly undertake their final European-based tests of the winter at Jerez in Spain, between 22 and 23 January.
Having already tested at the venue in the south west of Spain in November the forthcoming two days of track action will be used to make valuable comparisons with previous set-up and development ideas on the already class-leading WorldSBK spec Ninja ZX-10RR.
After the completion of the Jerez tests the season begins in earnest in Australia at the end of February. As is now traditional there will be a two-day official championship organisers’ test session at Phillip Island on 24 and 25 February, shortly before the start of race weekend itself.
As a record breaking five time WorldSBK champion, Rea will be looking to find an even sharper edge to his overall machine set-up before he switches into full race mode at the awesome Phillip Island circuit, in the state of Victoria. Rea collected another trophy recently, winning the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year accolade at the Irish Motorbike Awards for the fifth consecutive year.
As a newcomer into the KRT set-up for 2020 Lowes has already impressed many on his Ninja ZX-10RR, which he has already ridden at two Spanish tests shortly after the end of the 2019 season. Third overall in last year’s championship, Lowes is looking to 2020 as an opportunity to add to his total of race wins and improve his championship position.
Only the potential for changeable winter weather conditions is an unknown variable going into the forthcoming tests for a manufacturer and team that have scored World Championship successes in the past five years with the ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10RR models.
The 4.423km long Jerez circuit will host the third round of the 2020 WorldSBK season. Race weekend will be the first European-based one this time around, with track action taking place between 27 and 29 March.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is super-nice to start the year with a test at Jerez. We will try to continue on from where we left off last year, when were both fast and consistent. The nicest thing is catching up with the team again and putting all our ideas together. It is important to continue improving the base set-up of our Ninja ZX-10RR. We just need to confirm some different directions we took in November and then get ready for Australia. This Jerez test is more about understanding where we left off last year and confirming some things. We just need to keep an eye on the weather forecast, as it is always a gamble in January. We are as far south in Europe as we can be to guarantee consistent weather, but you never really know. Hopefully we can get some good work done. I will enjoy riding my bike again to set us up for going down under in a few weeks’ time.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I am looking forward to the tests after the winter break and it is going to be nice to get back out riding. With only these two days scheduled before we get out to Australia for the opening round I am hoping for some decent weather to get back up to speed and blow the winter cobwebs off. We will start getting focused and dialled in for the first race. We had a good first test back in November and since then there have been a few little things that we highlighted I wanted to improve. Even still a few little things with riding position, things like that, so we will focus on them and get as comfy as possible on the bike. That is actually the only target I have got; make sure the bike feels like my own before we get over to Australia and get the year started.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “This is an important test to prepare for the opening Australian round. We have all technical jobs done so we have to check a few details at this time; then give the riders the opportunity to make some more kilometers with their bikes on track. More important now is for them to start set their rhythm. I know Johnny and Alex are working even more than ever, so in this area I'm quite calm. I'm totally convinced we have them ready and very well trained. The motivation from Jonathan to continue winning is amazing. How Alex took the chance to improve on his third position from 2019 – to try and surprise everybody in Australia - is incredible. I know very well that we will start racing in Australia, were unfortunately they have suffered many bush fires in the last weeks. We hope we can bring a nice show to provide good entertainment to all the Australian fans and give some positive moments to help a little with all the difficult times they have passed through.”