Rea Wins Kawasaki Podium Lockout

Jonathan Rea (KRT) finished fifth and then first in the two WorldSBK races at Misano today and with his team-mate Leon Haslam third in Race Two, and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) second, it was an all Ninja ZX-10RR podium. Rea has cut Alvaro Bautista’s championship lead to just 16 points this weekend. Before the […]

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Jonathan Rea (KRT) finished fifth and then first in the two WorldSBK races at Misano today and with his team-mate Leon Haslam third in Race Two, and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) second, it was an all Ninja ZX-10RR podium. Rea has cut Alvaro Bautista’s championship lead to just 16 points this weekend.

Before the Race Two podium domination the ten-lap Tissot-Superpole race – effectively a sprint race – provided had already provided a podium for KRT, as Leon Haslam took third spot in a crash-strewn race. Rea had led the race, then fell from second place, remounting to take fifth place.

On a dry track in Race Two, which was hotter than the morning Superpole race, Bautista took a lead after his sprint race win. He fell on lap two, allowing first Haslam, and then Razgatlioglu and Rea, to do the front-running.

Rea and Razgatlioglu had a crowd-pleasing fight for the final win of the weekend on the final laps, with the eventual margin of victory only 0.381 seconds. Rea now has 75 career race wins, and a round figure of 150 career podiums from 262 race starts.

The three Ninja ZX-10RR riders that filled the Race Two podium – Rea, Razgatlioglu and Haslam – are the same three riders picked to race in the official Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8 Hours squad next month.

After the Sunday races at Misano Kawasaki has now scored over 400 podium places in WorldSBK, with a new total of 403.

Arriving 41 points behind Bautista, Rea now leaves Italy for a home round in the UK next time out just 16 points adrift, and with two more race wins to his credit.

Haslam is still working toward finding an ideal set-up but his strong recovery from two crashes at Misano saw him leave with two more podium finishes, his first top threes since round one at Phillip Island. Haslam is fifth overall, just 11 points from fourth place as he approaches Donington, a circuit which is almost literally a home round for him.

In the championship standings Bautista has 330, Rea 314, Van Der Mark 188, Alex Lowes 164 and Haslam 153.

The next round will be held at Donington Park, between 5 and 7 July.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Winning two races at Misano was good for us, especially the two important races. Unfortunately in the Superpole Race today I made a big mistake in turn ten, when I lost the front. But I restarted to finish fifth which was all important for the weekend. Race Two today was a tough one because the temperature was hot. I was very unsure of the pace. I felt like it was slow but I did not want to push any faster. I saw Alvaro go down very early in the race and the conditions out there were very tough, especially for the front tyre. The rear was just not digging in and going forward, it was just spinning so much – but we won, which was the main thing. It was a super-nice day for Kawasaki because we put three bikes on the Race Two podium. Team Suzuka! Donington next and we will go to every track with an open mentality.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “The third place in the sprint race today was just a matter of staying on and bridging the gap to Tom Sykes, and I managed to pass him on the last lap. This afternoon I was struggling from lap one and did not have much front feeling, but I think everybody was in the same position. When Johnny and Toprak came past I felt I could have pushed to go with them but I had already risked too much so I had to run my own race. Alex was then behind me and I did not want to give up the podium, so I fought a little bit at the end. We have made some good steps from the Jerez test but there are little things we are still finding out.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) finished just behind Haslam in fourth place in the short race but finished in a strong second place in Race Two, running out front of his fellow Kawasaki riders for 13 laps. He is now sixth overall and the top Independent Rider in the championship standings.

Toprak Razgatlioglu, stated: “For me, Race Two was my best race. In the short race I did not like the feel because yesterday I had a big crash and we tried the second bike. I did not have a good feeling in the race because the rear was sliding too much. I knew Race Two was important because I started from fourth position and I needed to stay with the front group. In the race I followed Johnny and Leon after Bautista crashed and I felt the bike was good, especially under had braking. I pushed in all laps and made a gap but I saw Johnny was coming. In the last lap I tried to get to the front again but it was not easy. After my crash yesterday this podium was for my crew who did a good job, and we tried a small set-up change that worked. Imola, Jerez and here, on the podium.”

Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) finished eleventh in the sprint and then tenth in Race Two. He is 12th in the championship standings.

Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) pushed himself to ninth in the sprint but fell in Race Two. He remounted but was eventually forced to retire. Leandro, despite missing some races through injury, is 17th in the points.

2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 19, Wins 4, Podiums 16, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 75 (60 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 150 (108 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 19 (15 for Kawasaki)

Leon Haslam:
2019: Races: 19, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 43 (5 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)

6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom 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: 131 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 403 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 84 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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Oschersleben 8Hrs : Podium for Team SRC Kawasaki France

The team managed by Gilles Stafler has taken the lead in the Endurance World Championship thanks to a superb and deserved second place at Oschersleben two full laps ahead of their closest pursuer. As the flag dropped on Sunday 9 June, 39 bikes started the second eight-hour race of the EWC season. As the sun […]

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The team managed by Gilles Stafler has taken the lead in the Endurance World Championship thanks to a superb and deserved second place at Oschersleben two full laps ahead of their closest pursuer.

As the flag dropped on Sunday 9 June, 39 bikes started the second eight-hour race of the EWC season. As the sun shone at Oschersleben all the ingredients were gathered together for an heroic battle.

For the first hour of race Jérémy Guarnoni was the first of the SRC Team riders to take to the track. Emerging with authority within the pack at the front of the race, he managed to overcome the on-track issues whereas many competitors fell in this initial session. On a physically demanding track comprising a 3.6 km technical layout with short straights and many curves allowing not a moments rest, « The Toulousain » was fast and reliable along with team-mate, Erwan Nigon.

At 17-00 mid-race had been approached and passed. The Number 11 Kawasaki Ninja ZX10-RR held its place ready to ambush for a victory but in a position that kept pressure off the riders. In fact the green team constantly occupied the upper track positions and was always among the front runners across the entire race.

The end of the race was gladatorial with many twists of fate which is part of the beauty of endurance racing. Team SRC Kawasaki France and the Ninja ZX10-RR was at the epicentre of this turbulence including, at 7:40pm, when an engine failure from a competitor poured oil on the track just in front of #11. Jérémy Guarnoni, then on the track, narrowly avoided a possible race ending crash taking #11 from third to the second position; the place that Team SRC Kawasaki France would occupy until the end of the race.

Gilles Stafler, Team Manager:

“It was a great event for us with a big challenge imposed by our rivals during the first few hours, but the job was done as my whole team was focused on this race ; the immediate goal being to fill the gap in the overall series ranking. It is clear that our riders have beautifully ridden and allowed us to take the lead of the World Championship when we were previously 10 points adrift.

Also we are delighted by the performance of our Kawasaki Ninja ZX10-RR which has once again demonstrated its reliability. Finally, David Checa has to be congratulated, as we don’t forget that thanks to his participation we achieved the pole and the 5 additional points.

We did not make him ride for reasons of fuel levels. It would have forced us to stop once more in the pits to add a third rider and compromise our final ambitions. I am sorry but it was essential for all of us and the success of the team.”

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RINS And MIR To Join European GSX-R Meeting

Team Suzuki Press Office- June 7. Team SUZUKI ECSTAR MotoGP riders Alex Rins and Joan Mir will join thousands of Suzuki fans at the upcoming European GSX-R Meeting run in…
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Team Suzuki Press Office- June 7. Team SUZUKI ECSTAR MotoGP riders Alex Rins and Joan Mir will join thousands of Suzuki fans at the upcoming European GSX-R Meeting run in...

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King of Kyalami

After an exciting and very intense 3rd round down in East London, the green machines were back up at altitude in Midrand for the 4th round of the Kawasaki ZX10 Masters Cup. The excitement was tangible on arrival at the world-class Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit as riding at the prestigious racetrack has become quite a […]

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After an exciting and very intense 3rd round down in East London, the green machines were back up at altitude in Midrand for the 4th round of the Kawasaki ZX10 Masters Cup. The excitement was tangible on arrival at the world-class Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit as riding at the prestigious racetrack has become quite a rarity after its major revamp a few years ago.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

The organisers of the Red Square Kawasaki Masters Cup pulled a rabbit out a hat getting Kyalami back on the racing calendar after the May round had fallen through. It seemed as it was going to be yet another year of minimal racing for which the circuit was supposedly saved and revamped. But by hook or by crook the race was on and here we were all pulling into pit lane with cheesy grins on our faces, all ready to do battle around the fast-flowing 4.522km circuit.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The format was slightly different for this round as there was no allocated Friday practice. The COC had set aside three timed practice sessions and two races on Saturday (luckily there was plenty of Red Square Reload on hand to get us through the day). The fastest time set by each rider in any of the practice sessions would decide their starting position on the grid, so needless to say, when pit lane opened it was serious right out the gate.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Practice Practice Practice

The pits were buzzing with excitement and anticipation to the build-up of the first session, not even the electricity supply could keep up with the 20 strong field of riders that had put their names on the entry list for a chance to claim bragging rights at the most prestigious track in the country. At 8:50, the pit lane was officially opened for the first timed practice session.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

27 ZX10’s rolled down pit lane looking to try and get as close to the first corner come race time. The first timed practice session was a tricky one as there was not enough rubber laid down on the surface as yet, and the track temperature was a little on the cold side, but one thing that was heating up was the battle between the 3 Amigo’s with Gous taking top spot ahead of Bezuidenhout and Van Breda. Jonty Collard, Michael Smit, Appanna Ganapathy, Teddy Brooke and Kyle Robinson had locked in a top ten spot early and were all within a second of each other. At the end of the second practice session, the times had dropped with Gareth Bezuidenhout now topping the timesheets ahead of Michael Smit and Van Breda.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Brian Bontekoning and Appanna Ganapathy had found some time on their return to the Kawasaki series and had locked in top ten positions. When the chequered flag waved the end of session 3 the times had dropped even further as the conditions had become ideal for a day at the races but now we all waited for the timekeepers to whip out the abacus and sort out the starting grid based on the fastest times set across all three sessions. After a few tense minutes, the timesheets were approved by the COC and up on the notice board.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

Van Breda yet again pinned the target on his back by snatching pole from Bezuidenhout and Gous who had seemed to have found a good setting with the newer model. Brian Bontekoning was up into 4th just edging out Michael Smit, Robinson and Ganapathy. Pieter De Vos secured 10th spot just beating Nieuwenhuys, van Vollenstee and Johan Le Roux who was back after his crash back in March. Wayne Spicer was 15th and Carl Rohrbeck, who had missed out on breaking under the two-minute milestone, was 20th on the grid with a 2:00.010.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

Race 1

At 14:15 the Red Square Brolly Dolly’s fluttered down pit lane as the Kawi pilots steamed around Kyalami for one sighting lap before stopping on the grid for battle.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

Lights On…Lights Off!!!

…27 bikes jumped off the line and headed down the long main straight fanning out 5 abreast into the first corner. Van Breda tried to push up the inside and take the holeshot but it was Gous who had the advantage of carrying a few extra kilometers into the turn. Behind them, the Bridgestone R11 tyres were being pushed hard through the left and right combination of the Jukskei Sweep jostling for position. Gous led the way in the early stages and was pushing to put Van Breda’s unbeaten winning streak to an end. Gous led the way for the opening laps but could not drop Van Breda.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Bezuidenhout held on to third and was in quite a lonely place on track after pulling a slight gap from Bontekoning, Collard, Smit and Brooke were all in the mix using different lines almost at every turn, trying to one-up each other. Appanna Ganapathy was working hard trying to recover from a very costly start which meant he now had to be clinical getting through the field.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Four laps in, Van Breda made his move into clubhouse which had the change of surface flag on constant display until the end of the race due to a Kawasaki body part lying on the racing line, this, however, didn’t affect Van Breda’s plan of attack as he had now hit the front. Gous held onto the back of Van Breda and struck back a few corners later into Crowthorne. Van Breda drove hard out the bend and attacked straight back into Clubhouse which seemed to be his secret weapon.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

As the race went on Johan Le Roux, Andre Van Vollenstee and Kyle Robinson disappeared from the timing sheets. As the laps ticked down Gous stayed in the mix but was just not close enough to make the pass, it seemed as if he was biding his time for a potential last lap attack. Unfortunately, with one lap to go, Michael Smit went down into the Clubhouse bend and collided with the barrier, bringing out the red flag which would rob the enthusiastic crowd of quite a few last lap showdowns. Stewie Christie, Guy Didcott and Sfiso Themba took it down to the wire as well as Gareth “Action” Jackson and myself, who had it all set up for a final corner lunge.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

Van Breda took the win from Gous and Bezuidenhout. Brian Bontekoning was fourth ahead of Jonty Collard who made some telling passes during the race. Appanna Ganapathy made it back up into a top 10 place ahead of Wayne Spicer, Christie and Didcott. Ruan Oberholster was the top 15 finisher and Ian Harwood was 17th after a tough battle with Rohrbeck and Mclachlan.

Race 2

Just after 16:30 it was time to hang cable again. 25 bikes lined up on the grid ready for another action-packed race. Michael Smit and Johan Le Roux were unable to make it back in time for the restart and would have to watch this one from the stands. The second race was reduced down to 8 laps as fitness and sunlight were a concern for the majority of the grid.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

Lights On…Lights Off!!!

The final race of the day was underway.

The front row got off the line well, Gous lunged down the inside of Van Breda but ran wide, letting Van Breda back through into the lead and onto the back straight. The field ran some creative and unusual lines through the Jukskei Sweep into Barbeque. It was quite a sight, watching 25 Kawasaki’s running at high pace through sunset corner as the sun drifted behind the buildings.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

I had a ton of work to do, as I had a first corner mishap with gear selection and had to make up all the positions I gave away, which was easier said than done as JB Schoeman, Chris Duplessis, Gareth Jackson and Henk Schuiling are not easy to get past, by any means.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

I eventually made my way through and could see Ian Harwood’s extremely bright leathers drifting off ahead of me. He was involved in an all-out war with Sfiso Themba yet again. Unfortunately, it was short-lived as they upped the pace leaving Ruan Oberholster and myself in a bit of a lonely ride.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

On lap three, Van Breda dropped the hammer in a big way and shattered the ZX10 Cup lap record putting in a very respectable 1:50.987 which completely knocked the wind out of Gous’s sails. Teddy Brooke was having a great race in fourth and was pulling away from Bontekoning, whilst Pieter De Vos showed good pace during the race in seventh place with Kyle Robinson and Apanna Ganapathy hot on his heels. After eight grueling laps around the undulating 4.529km circuit.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

The chequered flag made its final appearance of the day, to wave Van Breda home ahead of Gous and Bezuidenhout. Brooke held fourth place from Bontekoning and Collard whilst Dale Nieuwenhuys snatched a top ten finish from Guy Didcott, who won the rider of the day award. Rodney Mclachlan took 15th and the final overall point up for grabs. Stewie Christie’s last lap didn’t go to plan when his rear end spun around and spat the Dog Doctor off, adding a bit of character to his shiny new leathers.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

As the sunset behind the castle looking over Kyalami, the green machines were loaded on the trailers as the Phakisa Freeway awaits. See you trackside in Welkom on the 8th of June!

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Positive Suzuka 8 Hours Test For KRT

Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, plus key members of their regular WorldSBK squad, have joined forces with KHI to take part in an important two-day test session in readiness for the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours race in late July. The official ‘Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8 Hours’ project is a new initiative, with more KRT […]

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Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, plus key members of their regular WorldSBK squad, have joined forces with KHI to take part in an important two-day test session in readiness for the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours race in late July.

The official ‘Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8 Hours’ project is a new initiative, with more KRT WorldSBK staff inside the team than previous Suzuka 8 Hours entries. It is still a direct and official KHI set-up overall, and therefore takes the name Kawasaki Racing Team – abbreviated to KRT – for the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours.

The two-day Suzuka test, held between 3 and 4 June, was used to find the best development and machine set-up direction to take in the build up to race weekend, which will be held in the last weekend of July. With a new model Ninja ZX-10RR this year these sessions were vital, especially as KRT shared track time with many of their main rivals.

With a new spec bike running Bridgestone tyres, not the Pirellis that are used by all teams in WorldSBK, Rea and Haslam combined well with their team staff to evaluate overall bike feel and performance, gathering data and experience while also setting faster lap times than before. The number 11 Kawasaki’s best single time was 2’06.523, enough for fourth place overall at this early stage of development for bike and new-look team set-up.

The tests were deemed a success by all involved, with only some planned full race simulations interrupted by red flag incidents as the final day drew to a close.

This was Rea’s lone 8 Hours test before he returns to compete in the race build-up itself, but Haslam is scheduled to take part in further tests to confirm the development direction and set-up improvements.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I feel happy where we are for a first test. We are in some ways jumping into this project at zero because we have a new ZX-10RR, which is a little bit different from last year. We have used these two days to understand the window the bike is working in. We have been focusing on our 8 Hours specification bike, understanding fuel consumption, riding position and set-up. The most positive thing is that Leon and I are both working in the same way, the lap time is respectable – faster than last year – and more consistent. There are also clear areas to improve so it has been a positive test.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “It has been a good first test and we have a little bit different structure in the team this year, with more KRT WorldSBK staff in there. For a first go, I am pretty happy. These two days were about evaluating big areas, so we had a clear direction, which we managed to find. It was also to get up to speed to know how to ride this bike on these tyres when we come to race weekend. The lap times were the quickest we have been and I feel like we have only just started with getting feeling from the bike, the new set-up, plus a new engine character that is quite different to last year. We have tried lots of things over the last couple of days. We got through most of our test items and I am back here again in a couple of weeks. So far, so good.”

#NinjaSpirit

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