After a short break to what has been an intense starting schedule for the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship a two-day ‘in-season’ test session is taking place for KRT at the new WorldSBK venue of Circuito de Navarra in Spain.
With three meetings inside a four week window after a long-delayed start, the 2021 WorldSBK season is very much underway. Next up for the hardworking KRT duo of six-times champion Jonathan Rea and proven race winner Alex Lowes is a two day test at Navarra, between 21-22 June.
Lowes and Rea are first time riders at this circuit in Northern Spain and will be competitors during round seven of the WorldSBK championship at this same venue later this season.
The previous round at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli was held in hot conditions and ideally those are the conditions the team hope to find at Navarra. The weather may potentially have other plans but no matter the ambient conditions at this test it will allow Rea and Lowes to ride their new Ninja ZX-10RR machines around what is an all-new circuit for WorldSBK.
The 3.933km long Circuito de Navarra racetrack was built in 2010 and features no fewer than 15 corners over its relatively short length. It still manages to feature a huge variety of corners, including fast curves at Turns 1, 5, 10 and 14 plus what appear to be several out-braking opportunities approaching the more angular and slower corners.
The official Ducati squad has already tested at Navarra and as well as KRT there will be official teams from BMW, Honda and Yamaha present at these Current Navarra tests — showing the importance of entering any new round armed with at least some track knowledge before racing starts for real.
Navarra will be the seventh round of the 2021 championship when it comes around between 20-22 August, providing another ‘first’ for WorldSBK. It will begin a run of five mostly Southern European races that will ensure a busy autumn for WorldSBK in general, before the season culminates with two scheduled long haul races, in Argentina and Indonesia.
Alex and Jonathan will return to home ground for the next round of competitive action in the WorldSBK championship, at the Donington Park Circuit in the UK, between 2-4 July.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am very curious to try a new circuit and it is always exciting to go somewhere I have never raced at before. As well as the track being new for me it is also new for the team. The test is really important to understand the layout, the gearing, and initial set-up so we can arrive at Navarra for FP1 during race weekend in the best possible shape. We have some new items for our test programme that I have to test for KHI, which is nice to test in the middle of the season to make more steps with the Ninja ZX-10RR. Apart from that I will try to enjoy the riding and get the feeling step by step. The main target of the test is to find a rhythm on the track, so let’s see what the next few days bring.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “Over the first three rounds of the season we had three different tracks and three different temperatures. It got progressively hotter towards Misano, which was a really hot one, and I was hoping for some hot conditions at this Navarra test. Those are the conditions I lack a little experience with on this bike so we can try a few things to handle high track temperatures and tyre management. In terms of the bike we had a base settings from the winter tests that we have tweaked a little bit. So we are going to do some back-to-back testing at Navarra to give us a base setting. The next race is at Donington but once August starts we have a pretty busy schedule. So we want to make sure we are not changing the bike too much by finding some consistency. On top of that, Navarra is a new track, so I have done some research, watched some onboard laps, things like that. It looks great, like it has a bit of character, some faster corners and maybe a bit bumpy in places, plus some tighter sections. It is always nice to go to a new track for the first time. More or less the target for this test is to refine the set-up we have, not do anything too major.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “This Navarra test has been organised mainly to understand the track characteristics because it is a new on in the WorldSBK calendar. We have tried to find a way to make a test and understand how to set-up the bike there. It will be another new track for everybody and it is important over the two days understand the bike there. For the rest it will be a kind of test to continue solving some difficulties we found in Misano. We will continue developing solutions when the track temperature is high and the track grip is less. This is an opportunity to test in the summer to understand how to understand the tyre situation better and to continue our work in general.”