Just a few days after the breathless restart to the 2020 WorldSBK season last weekend in Spain the Kawasaki Racing Team will field Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, for the third round of what will be an intense and compact championship campaign.
Five times WorldSBK champion Rea and new KRT rider for this season Lowes faced up to the challenges of an overheated race weekend at Jerez recently, with Rea scoring a win and Lowes improving his results all through race weekend.
Hot, if less extreme, temperatures are expected in a few days time at Portimao, a popular venue with teams for its modernity and a true visual spectacle for riders and viewers, as it features seemingly endless undulations and blind corner approaches.
Rea has a strong record at Portimao, having won no fewer than nine races there; eight since he became a Kawasaki rider in 2015. He set a remarkable new record of 90 WorldSBK race wins after taking the top prize in the Tissot-Superpole race in Jerez.
Alex scored a podium with third place at Portimao last year, and will learn even more about the ultimate performance of his Ninja ZX-10RR around the 4.592km long circuit during FP1 and FP2, on Friday 7 August. Having won race two in Australia this season he has already tasted real success on a bike that is all new for him this year.
After Portimao, there will be a two weekend break until the WorldSBK riders and teams reconvene at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain for not one but two complete rounds in quick succession. The first Motorland race weekend will be held between August 28 and 30.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Portimao is a circuit that has been kind to us in the past and it suits the nature of our bike. There are a lot of areas where we can exploit the strengths of our Ninja ZX-10RR. I enjoy the challenge of the circuit as it is very undulating and it is the closest thing you get to a motocross track. The changes of elevation and blind corners; it really takes a lot of rider input and set-up to make a perfect lap. I am looking forward to starting on Friday with the team again and the emphasis will be on understanding how our base set-up works there, especially in the heat. We will possibly face hot temperatures like we have just had this past weekend. We will confirm everything because it was working pretty OK in Jerez. Our goal is to improve the feeling, work toward the races and at the end the target is to win.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I am looking forward to Portimao after not the easiest weekend in Jerez but I learned a lot about the bike. I had not had too much experience of the Kawasaki in the heat so the past weekend was about understanding it and learning the best way to ride the bike and adapt my style to the bike rather than chasing a setting. We made some good steps and hopefully that will put us in a good position at Portimao. It is not the easiest track but it is one I really enjoy. I think that the Kawasaki is going to work well there. I am looking forward to trying it for the first time on the ZX-10RR. I am happy we have had only had a few days until we get back out, because we were building momentum over the weekend in Jerez. We can just focus on starting on Friday morning and building from there. It is going to be good fun.”
As well as the official KRT riders heading to Portugal, Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Sandro Cortese (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) and Maximilian Scheib (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will also take part in their third round of the season on their Ninja ZX-10RR machines. Kawasaki’s independent riders left Jerez with Cortese ranked 14th overall, Fores 15th and Scheib 16th.