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Kawasaki and Rea Top World Superbike Testing

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The motorcycle racing season is heating up.  The first widely attended tests for World Superbike Championship contenders is providing some interesting results for Kawasaki.

Kawasaki Catalunya testing

In testing at the Catalunya Circuit, Team Green’s Jonathan Rea, the current five-time World Superbike Champion, once again led the entire field.   Riding Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-10RR, on day two, Rea set low time with a lap of 1’40.264.  Perhaps more interesting is that Rea set the lap time using a soft race tire versus a “Q” qualifying tire.

According to Kawasaki, Rea’s current ZX-10RR is “heavily revised.”  The updated machine features:

“…engine, chassis, and aerodynamic advances compared to the previous model with higher peak engine revs and front winglets integrated inside the new bodywork, generating significant extra downforce at high speed.”

Rea happy with the Kawasaki ZX-10RR

Once off the bike, Rea said:

“It has been a positive two day test. In some of our previous testing we had been held up by the weather and this is the first time we have been on track with all our rivals. We have been satisfied with all the results. We tested many items on the bike from a chassis point of view, engine point of view and electronics.

The new Ninja ZX-10RR is starting to feel really comfortable for me. On the final day we worked on our race set-up and I did a race simulation that got interrupted – but I was really happy with the pace, especially in the middle of the day, when we were trying to simulate the race time.

We did a time attack at the end with the SCX tyre and I was able to be quite fast. We ended the test positively and we are looking forward to MotorLand Aragon in a few weeks time, where we will continue to work our chassis and make more steps before round one.”

Crew Chief perspective

Pere Riba, Rea’s Crew Chief, is very happy with the results:

“Here at Barcelona it has been positive. Jonathan never stops growing and this winter he has been hard with himself physically, mentally and it is amazing. He is still making steps forward, which is strange after six years of winning the championship, but he is maybe in the best form I have ever seen.

In terms of the test, the technical things, we are happy because we confirmed things we tested already in Portimao and Jerez, but only for a short time then as we were sometimes disturbed by weather conditions.

Here, we could do two complete days. This track is demanding in some areas and that is good. It has a long straight and we worked on some parts in the engine. It was very positive. We kept working on the electronics to improve the weakest points. From the chassis side we also used something from Showa, improving the balance. We tried a new link to understand some areas we like to improve a little bit, in terms of position and loading the rear.

The only negative was the even though Johnny made the fastest lap of all, which was very good, we used a Q but it was not working the way we expected. We had another Q but we did not use it so Jonathan did his best time on an SCX tire. I believe some of the other guys did their lap times with a Q tire. We are happy with this test. We will go to the next test keeping making the package stronger.”

Rea will undoubtedly be another factor in this year’s World Superbike Championship.  His KRT Rider World Superbike statistics are very impressive.  Rea’s World Superbike record speaks for itself:

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
1. Career Race Wins: 99 (84 for Kawasaki)
2. Career Podiums: 185 (143 for Kawasaki)
3. Career Poles: 27 (23 for Kawasaki)

ZX-10R and ZX-10RR World Superbike record

However, the Kawasaki ZX-10 model is no slouch either.  The machine has taken six manufacturer’s championships. The Ninja ZX-10R has three manufacturers championships to its name, taking the top spot in 2015 and 2016.  With the updated Ninja ZX-10RR, Kawasaki has taken the World Superbike manufacturer’s championship in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

It’s still quite early in the season, but it looks that Rea aboard his Kawasaki ZX-10RR will certainly be a factor during the 2021 World Superbike Championship.  More testing will occur for the World Superbike competitors.  On April 21st and 22nd, teams will arrive at MotorLand Aragon in Alcañiz, Spain, for more testing.

The first points-scoring World Superbike Championship race will happen at Motorland Aragon from 21 to 23 May.  It’s looking like 2021 will be another exciting year for the World Superbike Championship.





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