The European headquarters of WorldSBK’s Kawasaki Racing Team is located only a few hundred metres from the main grandstand of the Montmelo Circuit in Catalunya, making the forthcoming sixth round of the championship an almost literal home event for many of the management and technical staff.
KRT’s impressive riding line-up of five times champion Jonathan Rea and proven 2020 race winner Alex Lowes have already tested at the Catalunya circuit - alongside many of their main competitors – during the long interruption to the planned 2020 race calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
After two back-to-back rounds at the Motorland Aragon circuit recently – for the Aragon and Teruel rounds - Rea has taken an impressive 36 point lead on his Ninja ZX-10RR, largely thanks to three more race wins that brought his season total up to eight.
Continuing to rewrite the history books in WorldSBK, Rea has now scored 96 race wins in all. One more pre-race Tissot-Superpole success will make him the third most successful qualifier in his own right. At the Teruel round he drew level on 26 Superpole ‘wins’ with another WorldSBK legend, Troy Bayliss.
After suffering from a serious bout of gastroenteritis during the most recent races Lowes is keen to get back into competitive action at his usual level of full fitness. He aims to score podiums at Montmelo in his desire to climb back up the championship table, especially after enjoying positive test results at the Montmelo circuit back in July.
Alex is currently seventh overall but only 20 points from the current third place rider after five often dramatic and unpredictable rounds of what is a rescheduled eight round championship season. On-track action gets underway at the 4.627km long Montmelo circuit - for the very first time in WorldSBK history – on Friday 18 September, with racedays following on 19 and 20 September.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is a really exciting moment because I grew up watching MotoGP racing at Montmelo and I loved the layout. I played it on the Playstation and it was always my favourite track. We were lucky to get the chance to test there in the middle of the summer and I felt great with it. I had a smile inside my helmet when I was riding. We learned lots of things to help us get ahead in first practice on Friday morning. Another reason to get excited is that it is the team’s home race. So while we will not have a full ‘squad’ of sponsors and extended family of the crew, we will be racing for them. It is an important race for the team, which is based just over the grandstand in Granollers. Of course the target is always to win, so we will put our heads together and work in the same way as we have been doing – preparing the bike to be strong over race distance. I am looking forward to the battles it is going to bring.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I am really looking forward to this coming weekend at Montmelo. I know we say that every week but after the most recent race at Motorland it was, physically, very tough. My body was not up to it because I was ill. I still took a lot of positives and a lot of confidence from it to be able to get a sixth, sixth and a fifth, despite feeling how I did. I felt good with the bike after not feeling quite as good with the settings the weekend before in Aragon. So we made some good steps with the set-up last time. We have tested at Montmelo already; it is a great track and I think it is going to be positive addition to the WorldSBK calendar. I am confident there is going to be some really good racing as well. It is a little bit of a shame that we will not have all the fans and everybody there for the team’s home race. I am very proud we are going to be there for KRT and hopefully we can get back on the podium in the team’s back yard.”
Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is the highest placed Independent Kawasaki rider in championship rankings, 14th overall.
Maximilian Scheib (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is 19th in his rookie WorldSBK season. Replacement rider for the recently injured Sandro Cortese, Roman Ramos (Outdo Kawasaki TPR), is 22nd after just two rounds back inside the WorldSBK paddock.
2020 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
2020: Races 15, Wins 8, Podiums 13, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 96 (81 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 181 (139 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 26 (22 for Kawasaki)
2020: Races: 15, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 22 (2 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
7 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
5 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018 & 2019)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 155 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 448 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 91 – second overall