Strong Start In Mixed Conditions For KRT2018-04-15 09:28
With new regulations in place that limit the top revs of the Kawasaki more than other manufacturers of the same engine configuration in 2018, finding optimum gear and engine relationships for every corner is sometimes a tough challenge. The technical staff steadily improved Jonathan and Tom’s overall machine set-up today, despite a wet track surface affecting FP1 and FP3 at times.
Rea finished his day satisfied that real progress had been made, and he was only 0.039 seconds behind the fastest rider, Marco Melandri. Sykes was just 0.197 seconds from the quickest time, with the next nearest rider almost half a second from the best rider on day one.
The task for each KRT rider is now to make final preparations in the final FP4 session early on Saturday morning, and then gain a front row starting position in Superpole 2, to help ensure a clean start in race one. The race start is scheduled for 13.00 local time, with race two taking place at the same time on Sunday 15th April.
Should Sykes score the Superpole win on Saturday it would make him the stand alone record holder for WorldSBK pole wins, a status he currently shares with Troy Corser.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was a really difficult first day because of the weather. We arrived here for the first session with the gearbox so far out and I was in between gears in all these second gear corners, which are so important or a good lap time here. We tried to find a good compromise in the gearing and in the second session it started to feel a bit better. The difference between all the tyre options that Pirelli has brought here is quite large. The tyres are the standard SC1, the development SC1 and then the standard SC0 race tyre and the difference between them is large. So it may be difficult tomorrow because we have not had a lot of time to set the bike up and do a race simulation - but I feel quite good with the bike anyway. We had ten minutes or so in FP3 before the rain came again and I feel we improved the bike again. We are going a little bit into the unknown now but I am happy with the bike at least. I am ready to try and have a good Superpole before race one.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I feel we are prepared for the race tomorrow. Not too bad on the first day because the bike is working well and I feel we have good speed, to be honest. It is just a shame that the third free practice session was not as good. The weather conditions made it almost not worth doing for anybody. I will be speaking to my crew chief Marcel and the boys in the garage later as we have a couple of things to iron out and fine tune. It is relatively positive that we are good to go again on the third different circuit of the season. It should be better weather for tomorrow, but you just never know here. I think we are in a little micro climate at Motorland and we will get what we are given. The set-up is there in preparation for tomorrow and race one.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 4, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 55 (40 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 114 (72 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 15 (11 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 4, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 33 (33 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 101 (100 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 43 (43 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 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: 110 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 351 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 75 – second overall
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team
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