After another two typically wholehearted race performances Jonathan Rea ended his weekend with another WorldSBK podium to his credit and a strong fourth place despite issues with ultimate grip and traction in Race Two.
Starting from pole position Rea set a new race lap record in the ten lap Superpole Race, with his 1’49.028 tantalisingly close to the magic 1’48 bracket on race tyres. In Superpole qualifying, when using softer tyre options, Rea had also set a new track best of 1’47.73 as he secured his 42nd career pole position.
Rea was a narrow but convincing leader of the Sunday morning Tissot Superpole race for nine of the ten laps. He had championship leader Alvaro Bautista (the eventual race winner) and final third place rider Toprak Razgatlioglu for close company almost throughout. Bautista only got past Rea on the long back straight, with Jonathan not quite close enough to attempt a re-passing manoeuvre into the long last corner. Rea was still only just 0.179 seconds behind Bautista at the flag.
The second race of the day, and the third of the weekend, saw Rea denied a potential podium spot by first Andrea Locatelli (although he would eventually DNF) and then Race One winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Bautista won both Sunday races, with Razgatlioglu second in Race Two and Rinaldi third.
Rea could not quite find the pace over the whole 18-lap race that he expected to have, possibly because it was run in slightly hotter air and track temperatures than the other Motorland races. He lost grip from his front tyre as well as the rear, which made the final laps particularly challenging.
In his second raceday with the official Kawasaki Racing Team regular test rider Marino was just one place from a points score in the ten lap Superpole race, but he moved up one position to take his first point in Race Two.
Florian also found some front traction issues in the long race but was still able to gain one place with two laps to go to make sure he would earn a pleasing championship point.
In the overall standings Rea is third, some 53 points ahead of the rider in fourth place. The recovering Alex Lowes is ninth overall and Marino’s point today puts him 23rd overall after just one weekend of competition.
The next round of the WorldSBK championship - the penultimate round - will take place at Portimao in Portugal in a few days time, between 29 September to 1 October.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The bike set-up wasn’t so much different today so we have to analyse what has happened in Race Two. I am just guessing right now but I think with the SCX-A rear tyre maybe we were over the temperature threshold. I think the standard SCX was probably the better choice. If I had to do the race again I would change that. But in these temperatures I also struggled with the front tyre in turning, stability etc. I eventually started to check my pitboard with Bassani behind and tried to keep him at bay. The Superpole race before then was incredible. The bike worked amazingly well. I need to take the positives away from the weekend because it’s no mean feat to just turn up here and be on the podium. I was really disappointed in the Superpole Race because I did everything I could. The amount of time we lost in one small sector is incredible. So, I was disappointed after I did all that good work during what I saw was a good opportunity for us. Race Two was a bit of a curve ball. I didn’t see it coming that we would struggle that badly. But, overall, it’s a been a positive weekend.”
Florian Marino, stated: “I am happy to finally get a point after all the work done over the weekend. I have enjoyed it a lot. Race Two was a little bit more difficult, with the conditions changed. I was struggling quite a lot with my front to stop the bike. In the long race I saved a few potential crashes so I am very glad I could finish it and I even made a pass near the end to take a point. WorldSBK is such a tough championship and it has been a massive learning process for me this weekend. I am very grateful and I want to thank all the team for their support - they have been really good to me. I am sure this will help me with my testing job for them in the future. Thank you guys.”
Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 18th at his home round in Race Two, having finished the Superpole Race in 17th place. Isaac Vinales (TPR by Vinales Racing Kawasaki) was 20th in both the Superpole Race and Race Two. Oliver König (Orelac Racing Movisio Kawasaki) ended his Aragon weekend in 22nd and then 21st places respectively.
2023 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2023: Races 30, Wins 1, Podiums 16, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 119 (104 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 261 (219 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 42 (38 for Kawasaki)
2023: Races: 26, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 34 (14 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 178 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 540 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 107 – second overall