Rea First And Sykes Third On Opening Motorland Day

Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team

Practice for the third round of the FIM Superbike World Championship kicked off at Motorland Aragon this morning and ended up this afternoon with Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes in first and third places respectively.

Ninja ZX-10RR riders Rea and Sykes have both automatically qualified for Superpole 2; the results of which will determine where they will start on the grid for race one, which gets underway on Saturday at 13.00 local time.

With four wins from four starts in 2017 Rea was in confident form as he approached the second free practice session, having led the first. A late fall of rain, in two short-lived showers, meant not every rider was able to improve their previous best times in the vital final few minutes of FP2, but Rea and Sykes both managed to jump up as the session drew to a close.

The official KRT riders will seek even greater levels of machine performance, over both a single lap and full race distance, in the 25-minute long FP3 session on Saturday. Each feels that despite their already strong showings there is more to come from their respective technical packages.

Both Tom and Jonathan have won races for Kawasaki at Motorland in the recent past and now aim to add to their totals – on Saturday in race one and then on Sunday in race two – over 18 laps in each case.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Today we did set-up and tyre checks this morning and then a long run and a fast lap this afternoon. That’s how it worked out. We got up to speed quite fast, honestly, and pretty much reached the limit of what we needed for the bike set-up. During the long run we went with the base setting we had in Phillip Island and Thailand, but during that run I realised it is may be not the very best for this particular track. We had a completely different front setting at the test here in November; one I was more comfortable with. It is just some chassis balance items. I don’t think we can see the full picture of everybody’s potential just from today and I think the race can spring a few surprises. But I am not thinking about the others; I am just trying to make things as good for me as possible.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “Tomorrow we will make two or three relatively small changes but at this level anything small can become a big gain on track. We finished strongly in FP1 with used tyres, which was a good confidence boost. In FP2 the initial lap time was fantastic and felt really good with the bike. I could see the rain was coming so we decided to come into the pits and make a couple of changes to the bike to give us information for Saturday. The good thing is that we have this information now, so tomorrow should be clearer and more straightforward. The rain at the end was not ideal but I stayed out on track and got some more information. In the last four minutes the rain became too heavy but we were lucky not to miss too much of the session. We have some good information for tomorrow.”

2017 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015 and 2016
2017: Races 4, Wins 4, Podiums 4, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 42 (27 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 92 (50 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 10 (6 For Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2017: Races: 4, Wins 0, Podiums 3, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 31 (31 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 87 (86 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 38 (38 For Kawasaki)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
4 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015 & 2016), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
2 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016)
2 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015 & 2016)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 95 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 314 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 65 – second overall

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