Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
New KRT riding line-up Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam completed their first winter test sessions on the 2019 Ninja ZX-10RR at Motorland Aragon, with Rea going fastest of all and Haslam working well during his first contact with his new team.
On a dry first day of testing, on Wednesday the 14th of November, four-time WorldSBK champion Rea demonstrated some serious pace to set a best lap time of 1’49.668, drawing an impressive early line in the sand for others to match.
New inductee to the KRT squad Leon Haslam was in confident and positive mood on his full-time return to the WorldSBK paddock, improving with every session on day one before wet weather prevented any track action on day two.
Rea’s technical crew used this test to make back-to-back comparisons between the 2018 and 2019 official WorldSBK machines, with Rea stating that he feels there is a lot of potential in the new bike already. Rea set his fastest lap times on the 2019 machine.
BSB champion Haslam worked between two base settings on his 2019 WorldSBK spec machines, making one clear choice of direction but then losing some track time to a minor technical issue just after lunch.
Leon still set an impressive 1’51.479 lap on his first day back in the paddock he knows well from his earlier WorldSBK career. Rains arrived early today and continuing throughout, so the decision was made not to take to the track.
Jerez de la Frontera in Spain will be the venue for the final KRT test before the winter break, with track sessions scheduled for the 26th and the 27th of November.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Day two of our test was cut short by wet weather so we were not able to refine the base set-up of our new 2019 Ninja ZX-10RR – but first impressions were positive after back-to-back tests with the 2018 machine. It is clear that the potential of the 2019 bike is much higher. To achieve that potential we need to delve into more set-up changes and that will require more time. It needs a bit more of a base setting because the new engine character has more power and more potential, especially under acceleration and on the brakes. That requires a little bit of a different riding style, so I need to understand that together with all my crew, in the next weeks. It was a simple back-to-back test here but in Jerez we can start to test more items with the chassis, electronics and some engine components.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “The test was positive and I am getting to know all the guys in the team. We missed some track time on the opening day, but even then it could have not gone any better. We got quicker each time we went out and the pace was quite competitive, considering we were not looking for that. We were just evaluating and understanding things. We are taking it step-by-step and we have another two days at Jerez to test again before the winter break. So far, so good.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Our test was good. With our new engine upgrade we have some new parts and it ‘talks’ differently to the rider. That needs time for us to understand how to give the best to Johnny, especially in terms of feeling. Apart from that, his lap times were really fast and we have already collected positive information. It is a shame that is was raining today and we decided not to test in the wet. All the items we needed to try need dry conditions, or else you cannot understand them properly.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Leon Haslam, stated: “I was very happy and confident from the very beginning of the tests. We have a BSB champion in our house with a lot of experience on different bikes, different championships and different tyres. Day one went very well. We had two different bike set-ups to put us in the correct direction for chassis development. He clearly chose one of them and with some minor changes towards the end of day one, Leon was in the ballpark with our closest competition, who had won several races in the past few years. So from this point of view I am very happy, but unfortunately day two was wet. After this single day on track and with the positive results, we are confident we will continue doing well in Jerez.”
2018 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2018: Races 25, Wins 17, Podiums 22, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 134 (92 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
2018: Races: 4, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 39 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 380 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 81 – second overall