After a closely contested and exciting season in WorldSBK racing Jonathan Rea has recorded 28 podium finishes, including 11 race wins, and is currently second in the championship standings, with only the Indonesian finale left to run.
Having won the six previous WorldSBK championships with Kawasaki Rea now faces the toughest battle of his career to keep the number one plate on his Ninja ZX-10RR for another year. The season has seen the pendulum of fortune swing from Rea to championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu and back again - hence few expect anything less than late dramas and unpredictable happenings to round off a year like 2021.
Whatever the final outcome of the championship fight it has been widely declared a classic season already, with Rea still having three individual races to try and peg back the lead of Razgatlioglu.
After a tough season due to injury Alex Lowes has undergone recent surgery to speed up his recovery before the final round. With early season shoulder issues to deal with, and then his mid-season hand injury, Lowes has recorded five podiums finishes - even though he has not been able to ride in all of the races.
He aims to finish the season strongly by securing more podium finishes for himself, his KRT squad and Kawasaki.
More than a month after the previous round in Argentina the current season finishes with what is something of a new era for WorldSBK - despite the complications of the ongoing global pandemic.
In between race meetings the fully modern and safety-conscious circuit design will revert to being part of the local road network, making it unique in modern World Championship motorcycle racing.
At 4.310km long Mandalika’s asphalt surface has just recently been completed. An inauguration ceremony has taken place ahead of what will be its first race weekend of any kind, between 19-21 November.
As usual in 2021 here will be three races for the WorldSBK riders to take part in, as WorldSBK returns to Indonesia for the first time since 1997.
Saturday’s Race One is scheduled to take place at 15.00 local time in Lombok. The ten-lap Tissot-Superpole Race will take place at 11.00 local on Sunday 21 November and Race Two at 15.00.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “After a few weeks at home preparing, I’m very excited to go to Mandalika and get the last round of the championship underway. I’m curious to see the circuit for the first time. First impressions from images I’ve found of it are great. It looks like a circuit that will suit the strengths of our ZX10-RR. We will work hard on Friday to learn the circuit and fine tune our settings. We will arrive there 30 points behind in the championship battle but we will fight to the end. I feel all the pressure is off now; I can ride free with nothing to lose and the target is clear. With three points scoring opportunities lying ahead I will give 100% to get the maximum possible.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “It’s the final race of 2021 and it’s been a frustrating year for me. I’m sure my speed with the ZX-10RR has definitely improved but I haven’t been 100% fit at all this season. We made the decision after Argentina to have some surgery, considering the long break we’ve had in the race action. Now the target is to be in better condition and finish the year strongly as we are already building for 2022. Mandalika is a brand new circuit and Indonesia is a country where the fans have a great passion for two wheels. Both of these reasons are why I’m so happy to be going there and I’m excited to get started. It would be great to finish the season on that podium.”
Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is currently 19th in the WorldSBK rankings as the end of his rookie season approaches. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will once again stand-in for the injured Lucas Mahias.
Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) will not be racing at the final round as he continues to recover from an injury sustained at the Portuguese race weekend in October. Teenager Oliver Konig will make his WorldSBK debut at the final round of the 2021 season. Oliver has raced in the WorldSSP300 class this season, scoring a podium at the Most Round in August.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 35, Wins 11, Podiums 28, Superpoles 8
Career Race Wins: 110 (95 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 213 (171 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 30, Wins 0, Podiums 5, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 29 (9 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 169 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 487 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall