Qatar Test Comes To A Close With Positivity All Round

Team Suzuki Press Office Alex Rins: 3rd – 1:54.593 +0.385 (in Session 2) Joan Mir: 12th – 1:54.997 +0.789 (in Session 3) • Alex Rins feeling prepared for Qatar GP….

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Team Suzuki Press Office Alex Rins: 3rd – 1:54.593 +0.385 (in Session 2) Joan Mir: 12th – 1:54.997 +0.789 (in Session 3) • Alex Rins feeling prepared for Qatar GP....

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Qatar Day 2 Sees Rins Fly To The Top Of The Sheet

Team Suzuki Press Office Alex Rins: 1st – 1:54.593 Joan Mir: 11th – 1:55.280 (+ 0.687) • Alex Rins continues excellent pace ahead of season opener. • Joan Mir shifts…

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Team Suzuki Press Office Alex Rins: 1st – 1:54.593 Joan Mir: 11th – 1:55.280 (+ 0.687) • Alex Rins continues excellent pace ahead of season opener. • Joan Mir shifts...

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Opening Race Second Place For Rea

Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam rode together for more than half race distance in the first WorldSBK race of the 2019 season, with Rea finishing in second place overall and Haslam falling after mid-race distance, but remounting to finish 15th. In warm and dry conditions the first of three WorldSBK races […]

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Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam rode together for more than half race distance in the first WorldSBK race of the 2019 season, with Rea finishing in second place overall and Haslam falling after mid-race distance, but remounting to finish 15th.

In warm and dry conditions the first of three WorldSBK races at Phillip Island got underway with Rea in pole position and Haslam second.

Jonathan had set a new track best lap of 1’29.413 in the new-look one session Superpole qualifying period to raise his career total of Superpole wins to 17. Haslam’s full–time return to WorldSBK action continued in a positive way in practice, with his second place in Superpole just 0.211 seconds from his team-mate.

At the start of a dramatic WorldSBK opening race, in which class rookie Alvaro Bautista finally won by a large margin, Rea and Haslam rode together, setting a pace to conserve their tyres for a fight towards the end of a 22-lap contest.

Rea was passed by Haslam on lap four, and Leon was ahead for the bulk of the race until his slow speed slip off at turn four, losing the front at the apex of the corner. He remounted to score a championship point.

Entering the latter stages of the race Rea enjoyed an advantage to the battling riders behind; an advantage that would see him finish a comfortable second overall.

On Sunday the 24th of February there will be a ten-lap ‘sprint race’, which will not only score championship points, but also determine the final 22-lap race starting grid. The third and final race of the Phillip Island weekend will take place at 15.00, local time.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am very happy with my race, to be honest. Looking from Monday through Tuesday at the tests, I thought the best target we could hope for was second, and in the end we achieved that. We arrived at the end of the race with a good tyre and that was the main target today. Now we have 22 laps of race data we can really understand to make some improvements tomorrow. The race today was just to conserve the tyre. The target was to ride very smoothly and arrive at the end of the race. When you see Superpole you see our real potential, in the winter tests and during the season at ‘normal’ tracks.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “Honestly we did not know what happened when I slid off, because I was not pushing that hard, feeling quite relaxed. I was trying to conserve the tyres, and I know Johnny was as well. If I had pushed too hard or made a big mistake I would understand it, so we have to analyse the data to see why I lost the front there. I feel we could have gone as second faster per lap at any point, so we were conserving and conserving. We know we have good pace. Everything has been really good all weekend, and even my pace after the crash would still have been enough, so there are positives. But at the minute it is a hard one to take. In the sprint race tomorrow everybody is going to go that bit more all-out, and then we have the long race afterwards.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) challenged for a podium finish in race one at Phillip Island, and finished in sixth place. He was the second-best Independent Rider on the first day of race action in 2019. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 11th in his first Kawasaki race, and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) placed 14th.

2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 1, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 135 (93 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 17 (13 for Kawasaki)

Leon Haslam:
2019: Races: 1, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 39 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)

6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, 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: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 381 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 82 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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Final Pre-Season Tests Complete For KRT

Kawasaki Racing Team riders Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea finished third and fourth fastest respectively after two days of official DWO testing at Phillip Island, the venue for the first round of the championship this coming weekend. With a dry track surface to work with each day, but often high winds to deal with at […]

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Kawasaki Racing Team riders Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea finished third and fourth fastest respectively after two days of official DWO testing at Phillip Island, the venue for the first round of the championship this coming weekend.

With a dry track surface to work with each day, but often high winds to deal with at the same time, four-time WorldSBK champion Rea and reigning BSB Champion Haslam set about making real preparations for the first round of the championship.

With several red flags being shown to halt the on-track action, frequently due to wild birds wandering onto the 4.445km long circuit, the tests were often halted, sometimes at key moments for the KRT team riders.

The all-new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR took Haslam to the third best time of the two-day tests, thanks to a 1’30.668 lap time. Rea was fourth fastest with his 1’30.722. All the best times were set on race tyres, with no qualifying options at this test.

Now the refreshed KRT riding line up, and the new Ninja ZX-10RR have the opportunity to work toward podium finishes in what will be a new-look WorldSBK weekend.

As well as the two regular full distance WorldSBK races of the past seasons, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, there will be a third ‘sprint race’ at each event this year, to be held over ten laps each time. This Tissot Superpole Race will not only score championship points, if a reduced number compared to a full race total, but will also determine the final race staring grid.

The first practice sessions of the new-look 13-round, 39-race season will take place on Friday the 22nd of February, with race one on Saturday the 23rd and the two other races on Sunday the 24th.

Leon Haslam, stated: “Up until today we probably used the least amount of tyres compared to anyone else. We were just looking at race set-up and looking at a real specific plan of what we wanted to do, hence we were not posting really good one-off lap times and putting new tyres in. Our race times have been pretty competitive over both days. I had a bit of a go for a lap time at the end there but I got traffic on my first two laps and I think it was my fourth flying lap I did the 1’30.6. I think if we could have maximised the early laps, like everyone else seemed to be doing, we could have been a little closer. The biggest thing about this test for me was the average of the base pace, looking after the tyres, and managing that side of things. We are in a good place, I think. I am not looking to the races just yet; I am looking to the practice session on Friday, because there are still a few things we want to try. I feel good and we are making the steps.”

Jonathan Rea, stated: “This has been a really positive test and we have been able to analyse a lot of items and changing things in the bike to see exactly what the track requests. This track is so unique because of the energy and load we put into the rear tyre, because of those fourth and fifth gear corners. Now we have a lot of data but unfortunately today there were a lot of red flags and we were not able to complete a long run or maximise a time attack. So this has been a huge data gathering two day test and it will prove very valuable for race weekend. With three races this year we need to be clever with the timetable and Sunday will be very a tight day for many reasons. The racing itself, trying to take on board food and – being in a factory team – the media commitments. So Sunday will be busy. From a racing point of view, I am quite happy.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Leon Haslam, stated: “We had a very good winter test programme and this final test was all about preparation for race weekend. We wanted to give Leon as many laps as possible to give him more time to adjust to this bike. We made an agreement together that in every session we needed to improve our pace and that is what we did. I think we were the only riders to improve the lap time and the pace, session-by-session. To be third right now makes me very confident but I am more convinced about our consistency. We have no problems with rear tyre endurance. We are, after ten or 12 laps, at least as fast or faster than our competition so I am looking forward to the weekend. With three races the weekend will be as busy as usual, but more exciting.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “The test has been the same as each previous year in Phillip Island. This is a unique track, completely different and we have been preparing the base bike and the starting point for 2019. In the winter tests it has been very good and then when we arrived here, as we expected from previous years, everything has been different. So we started to focus on the base setup for this track and then focus with the tyres. This is one of the main things we have to focus on here, especially the rear tyre. This has been the target to try to find a good balance for Johnny and also for durability for the rear tyre. As for race weekend we have to analyse everything, and I already have some ideas. On Friday we still want to try something to give Johnny a little bit more confidence and understanding.”

2018 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2018: Races 25, Wins 17, Podiums 22, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 134 (92 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)

Leon Haslam:
2018: Races: 4, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 39 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)

6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, 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: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 380 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 81 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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Mahias And Okubo Ready For Opening Weekend

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo completed their final pre-season test today, at Phillip island in Australia, with Lucas sixth quickest and Hikari seventh overall. Still in the relatively early stages of his relationship with his 2019 racebike Mahias, the 2017 World Champion, earned a sixth place overall. He was the last […]

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Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo completed their final pre-season test today, at Phillip island in Australia, with Lucas sixth quickest and Hikari seventh overall.

Still in the relatively early stages of his relationship with his 2019 racebike Mahias, the 2017 World Champion, earned a sixth place overall. He was the last of the leading riders to get under the 1’34 barrier, setting a 1’33.872 best lap time.

With some issues of tyre wear already developing, due to the heavily left-handed and fast nature of the Phillip Island track layout, Mahias hopes a solution will be found before race weekend.

For Okubo, his 2019 testing pace is already faster than his early 2018 pace, as he approaches his second season riding with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing squad.

After the tests, which were completed in dry and windy conditions, Mahias and Okubo are now planning their race weekend preparations, which will culminate in a scheduled 18-lap race at the 4.445km long Phillip Island circuit on Sunday the 24th of February.

Lucas Mahias stated: “A difficult day for me and I worked a lot during the test to improve the bike and to understand it more. Again, it is early for me in this project but I am very happy with my team and my crew because they are working a lot. I am a little bit sorry because I am not in the top position or the top three. It is a test, so no points for this. I think the bike is maybe not best suited to Phillip Island but I am confident for the race because it will be really different to the test.”

Hikari Okubo, stated: “I am not happy because I am in seventh position but my lap time is not so bad. It was 1’34.8 last year and now I set a 1’34.1, so that is a big step, I think. I expect a hard race on Sunday because the tyre is spinning a lot after five or six laps. My best lap with a new tyre was a 1’34.1 and my second best lap was 1’34.2. I feel happy in my consistency. I wanted to make more of a step but I could not during this two-day test. With two days off I will push hard again on race weekend. My feeling right now is that things are not perfect, but I feel very positive.”

#NinjaSpirit

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