Rea Leads Early Portimao WorldSBK Pace

Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team

KRT rider Jonathan Rea finished the first day of action at Portimao in the leading position after the completion of the first two free practice sessions at the 4.592km long circuit in Portugal. His team-mate Leon Haslam was overall sixth today.

With the ambient temperatures rising in the second 50-minute session of the day the track temperatures also climbed, meaning the best times for all but one of the riders inside the top ten were set in the morning session.
 
In the afternoon Rea finished second in FP2 but still fastest of all due to his morning best. Haslam experienced some issues in FP2 and was 12th, but ultimately inside the top six places in the combined rankings on the return to competitive action for all in WorldSBK. Just 0.857 seconds separated the top 12 riders today.
 
After the first two 50-minute sessions Rea and Haslam have now gone a long way in their pre-race preparations. Now short FP3 session will take place on Saturday morning, followed by Tissot Superpole qualifying and then Race One, over 20-laps on Saturday afternoon.
 
Each KRT rider was able to refer to data from their experiences at the official Portimao test sessions, which took place just two weeks before today’s track action.
 
Jonathan Rea, stated: “This morning the track was a little bit green and the kerbs were a little bit slippery, but the track has now ‘rubbered-in’. I feel we have improved the bike a little bit from the tests we did recently, but we can still improve a little bit more for tomorrow. We have just a few areas to improve and this morning we worked on the different rear tyre options we have for the race. This afternoon I worked on finding a rhythm and putting some laps on a tyre. The consistency looked very good. For day one, I feel quite good with the bike.”
 
Leon Haslam, stated: “This morning was positive, this afternoon we had a small issue. Always it is very different here from the morning to the afternoon, because of the temperature change. But I feel confident because there is always a big battle here and it is usually a difficult race. Overall, the result this afternoon was not so good for the lap times but the feeling is still strong for the race tomorrow.”
 
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) went into fourth place after day one in Portugal and was the top independent rider as a result of his early pace. He also tested at Portimao recently and is now attempting to win his first WorldSBK race, having already earned several podiums this season.
 
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) found the feel from the track much changed from the recent test and was ranked 15th, as he worked to improve his machine settings and balance. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 16th fastest today.
 
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
 
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 25, Wins 9, Podiums 22, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 80 (65 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 156 (114 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 20 (16 for Kawasaki)
 
Leon Haslam:
2019: Races: 25, Wins 0, Podiums 6, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 45 (7 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)
 
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom 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: 136 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 415 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 85 – second overall

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