Saturday started in a very positive way for Jonathan Rea as he took his 42nd Superpole qualifying award in WorldSBK, with all-time best lap of 1’47.937. This made him the first and only rider in WorldSBK to break into the 1’47 bracket.
He was part of the fight for the lead for the whole first race and was the leader across the start/finish line eight times. Early leader Alvaro Bautista fell not once but twice, the first time from the lead of the race, just in front of a fight between Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Rea passed Toprak for the lead until he was in his turn overtaken by eventual race winner, Michael Ruben Rinaldi - and then Razgatlioglu again with three laps to run.
Rea had simply run out of enough traction from both front and rear tyres to be able to attack the riders in front but he was once again a podium finisher, holding a final three second advantage over the rider in fourth place, Andrea Locatelli.
Riding as a stand-in for the still-recovering Alex Lowes, Marino had a solid and consistent race to 16th, just missing out on a championship point by one place. He improved from his Superpole qualifying position of 18th during the race.
Now Jonathan and Florian will face a ten lap ‘sprint’ race on Sunday morning before the 18-lap Race Two in the afternoon wraps up the race action at the Motorland Aragon Round.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Even in the first laps I felt really under control and it was, in fact, easy to sit behind Alvaro. That was when our bike has grip, like this morning when you saw in Superpole that the lap time was incredible. Even losing the time we did in sector four I could do what I wanted with the bike. After nine laps it started to become more difficult and I could see the gap to Toprak was staying around 0.1, 0.2 on the pitboard. I just tried to keep my focus and not make mistakes. Then Rinaldi passed me and I knew that he was coming with good pace. As soon as he passed me I could see in the next corner exit that he had so much grip. I knew it would be close to impossible to fight. Toprak came past pretty quickly after. I gritted my teeth and tried to stay there. I was taking tenths in some areas, but over the lap he was just a bit better. We ran into grip problems front and rear. But we got a third place, and I should be really happy, because it continues our podium form. I have been super-happy with thirds in the past but today I am a bit disappointed because I expected a bit more.”
Florian Marino, stated: “While I’m happy with today’s performance I think Superpole didn’t go quite to plan. I think I was not aggressive enough. I missed the opportunity to be with the other guys and do a good lap. Unfortunately, I started quite far back in 18th position. I think I made quite a good race, but it seems everybody did, so I was not able to take advantage of that. I think I was not aggressive enough to pass the two guys in front of me, early on. I feel like I lost a few laps and by the time I passed Baldassarri and Ray, I managed to set more or less the same pace as the guys in front of me. I was not able to catch them on the last four laps. Yeah, it is a shame that I couldn’t get any points but I feel like tomorrow I can definitely fight with the group ahead of me for some points. It has been all positive so far. I am enjoying the opportunity, learning things, and it is all a bonus to me. Now the target is to make some steps forward tomorrow and I really believe we can do it.”
Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was a non-finisher in Race One after suffering technical issues that forced him to retire. Isaac Vinales (TPR by Vinales Racing Kawasaki) was 20th and Oliver König (Orelac Racing Movisio Kawasaki) placed 22nd.
2023 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2023: Races 28, Wins 1, Podiums 15, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 119 (104 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 260 (218 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: 539 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 107 – second overall