In hot but consistent conditions the first 23-lap WorldSBK Race at Navarra saw some close action at the start as Jonathan Rea lost, then almost immediately regained, his leading position on lap one.
Rea kept himself out front for five laps until eventual race winner Scott Redding went through to lead and then ease away to finish with an advantage of 2.5 seconds. With Toprak Razgatlioglu third in Race One Rea extended his championship lead to his closest challenger to seven points.
At a very bumpy and technical Navarra Circuit Rea had two ‘moments’ where he lost time on his way to an otherwise controlled and unchallenged second place.
In Superpole qualifying at the 3.933km long Navarra circuit Rea had secured a record-equaling seventh successive Superpole ‘win’ with his new track best lap time of 1’36.122. This was his 30th pole for Kawasaki in WorldSBK, and the 34th of his career.
For Lowes a solid top five finish in the race was a good early points scoring ‘marker’ at this new WorldSBK venue, especially in such hot conditions at a physically demanding track layout.
He rode most of the race alone after losing the tow to the leading quartet but having enough pace of his own to be unchallenged after 23 laps of intense concentration and control.
On Sunday 22 August, the final day of action at Navarra, the Tissot Superpole Race and a 23-lap Race Two will provide more opportunities for Rea and Lowes to aim for podium positions and take away strong points scores.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “What a lap in Superpole! I really got the best out of the tyre but I was overcooking a few corners, missing some apexes, so I was really surprised at the lap time. I was a little bit nervous about the start of the race. It was very important to be at the front and we had quite a good start, but Scott was just a little bit better. At the beginning I felt I could go to the front and when Scott went quite wide in T5 and T6 I went on the inside and passed him. From there I just kept my rhythm until he blasted me on the straight. After that I thought, ’I’m there’ but then the front started to heat up, stability started to go down and the front was moving. Over-pushing the front, I had a few slides and enough to tell me to brake a bit earlier. I lost as much as one second during one mistake and Scott went away. I did not feel he was destroying us lap-by-lap when it was constant, the gap was quite similar, so I feel we can make some changes on the front tomorrow to make a step forward.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “In Superpole I felt quite good and my laps were not too bad. I used a race tyre and two Q tyres. On the second one I made a mistake in the last sector. It was so close. Jonathan and Scott did good laps but behind it was only a couple of tenths, not even that. I ended up seventh and the position was not ideal coming from the third row. In the race I had a good start and was fourth until Toprak passed me. I thought I would sit behind those guys out front but I wasn’t fast enough because I was struggling with the front. I was a bit quicker than the guys behind so it was a bit of a boring race for me. But it was a long race - and hot. I used the Race One experience to try to be consistent and understand how I can improve for Sunday.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was a superb sixth in Tissot Superpole qualifying but was unfortunate to crash at Turn 11 in Race One in his comeback race from injury.
Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) was 17th today and
Jayson Uribe (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) 18th.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 19, Wins 8, Podiums 17, Superpoles 7
Career Race Wins: 107 (92 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 202 (160 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 34 (30 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 19, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 28 (8 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: 166 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 475 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 99 – second overall