Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
Just two weeks after KRT rider Jonathan Rea won an unprecedented fourth WorldSBK riders’ title in succession, Jonathan, his team-mate Tom Sykes and the entire KRT squad will head to Argentina for the very first South American round in the series’ history.
Rea and Sykes will enjoy their historic experience of the all-new El Villicum circuit on Friday the 12th of October, when they get to lap the 4.266km circuit on their Ninja ZX-10RRs. Racedays will follow on Saturday the 13th of October and Sunday the 14th. Both WorldSBK races are scheduled to start at 16.00, local time.
Even after quadruple champion Jonathan extended his all-time WorldSBK race-winning total to 68 in France last time out, and Tom extended his all-time Superpole record to 47, there is a lot to play for at this exciting new round on the WorldSBK calendar.
Jonathan has stated that his intention is to keep winning races and aims to beat his own record of 556 points in a single championship season. The long-standing record of 17 race wins in a single season can also be reached or surpassed by Rea, with four races left to run and 14 race wins to his credit so far.
On the eve of the Argentinean weekend, 2013 world champion Tom Sykes has secured 34 career race wins, all for Kawasaki. After recovering from an injury suffered during the summer break Tom has made a return to podium form, hence he will be looking to secure his second victory of the season this weekend.
Another important aim for all the Kawasaki riders in Argentina is to ensure that Kawasaki wraps up the Manufacturers’ Championship at this round. Kawasaki currently has a championship lead of 87, with a maximum of 100 points left for any manufacturer capable of winning all four remaining races.
The first ever Argentinean round could arguably be the most open and unpredictable of the season, as none of the WorldSBK teams or riders have competed at the brand new facility near the city of San Juan before. Having just been completed, none of the teams have any previous El Villicum circuit data to work from, making tyre choice and machine set-up a completely level playing field for all.
Rookie WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) has a firm grip on second place in the independent riders’ rankings right now, as he sits tenth in the overall standings.
Racing in Argentina will be an emotional experience for Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) as El Villicum is his home round. He will be looking to put in a season-best result – better than the eighth place he scored at Assen.
Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) is one place behind Mercado in the current rankings, in 16th place. A new rider will join the Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki squad for this race, teenager Gabriele Ruiu, who has been running a Ninja ZX-10RR for the team in STK1000 this season.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am really excited; firstly to go to a new track and to visit South America for the first time. It is great for the championship and also really nice to visit a new country with WorldSBK. Of course, since Magny Cours I have not had much time to digest winning the championship but I am extremely happy and proud of our efforts to date this season. But the season is not over and we are going to attack this race weekend like any other. We will try to put celebrations on ice until the end of the season. We won’t have too much set-up data this weekend so we will start FP1 with a blank sheet of paper. Fortunately our Ninja ZX-10RR has a great base setting so it is up to me to learn the track fast, and hopefully enjoy it. I am looking forward to meeting all the Argentinean fans.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “This is a new experience for us and we will see how we go when get there. I got a podium last time but I am a little bit disappointed about race two in France. We had two different set-ups on the bike in the two races and one did things better than the other. It was good information and it should help us to be strong in Argentina. It will be a kind of clean slate this weekend but I think Kawasaki will be as prepared as anybody, if not better prepared. I am looking forward to going to that part of the world and it will be a new adventure for everybody. I have seen some overhead pictures of the layout and it looks good. It will look even better if I get two race wins! We are going there with a positive attitude.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2018: Races 22, Wins 14, Podiums 19, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 68 (53 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 131 (89 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 22, Wins 1, Podiums 7, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 107 (106 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 47 (47 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 124 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 375 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 80 – second overall