Jonathan Rea (KRT) scored another race win and then a second place at Motorland Aragon on Sunday 23 May to lead the championship after the first weekend of WorldSBK racing in 2021. Alex Lowes (KRT) is ranked second overall after two more strong podium rides, in second and third place.
After two dry days at Motorland rains appeared on Sunday morning, making the warm-up session fully wet. The ten lap Tissot Superpole ‘sprint’ race and then the final 18 lap Race Two were held in slightly different, if changeable conditions, where tyre choice proved to be even more important to the final results than normal
In the ten lap Superpole race at 11.00am Rea used his pole position starting place to full effect, only being demoted for a short time before taking back a lead that would grow to 3.5 seconds over Lowes at the flag.
Lowes was again on good form in the sprint, with both KRT riders opting for what proved to be the correct choice of intermediate fronts and rears in the sprint race.
Race Two proved to be more or less dry on the racing line after the sighting lap, which saw Scott Redding and his slick tyres take his first win of the year.
Rea was a clear second despite being pushed off track when another rider ran in too hot during the approach to a corner. Fortunate not to fall, Rea got going again from fifth place to work his way into a final second place and finish off a superb weekend - highlighted by reaching an unprecedented career total of 100 race wins on Saturday. He now has 101 race wins in total after his subsequent Superpole race win on Sunday.
Lowes was in combative and controlled form in the long Race Two, using his intermediate tyres to their best effect to finish on the podium in third place after his two runner-up showings earlier in the weekend.
After a very strong start to the season with the new Ninja ZX-10RR the KRT riders are 1-2 in the championship standings. Rea leads with an almost perfect 57 points, Lowes has 45 and Redding 40. Kawasaki leads the manufacturers championship by 13 points after round one.
The season opener at Aragon will be followed by the Estoril Round in Portugal, between 28-30 May.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am really content with the weekend because to win the first race of the season was 100 times better than last year, and also to claim my 100th victory was a real target of mine. Today, I never experienced conditions like this in my whole career, where it really is a big tyre choice by the minute. Every minute it changes. With three minutes to go in race two I was asking Pere if they still had slicks on the grid! The Superpole race was the first time I had ever raced the intermediate tyres so huge kudos to Pirelli. I decided after that experience to use that tyre choice in the final race as well. It was the safest option. It wasn’t the right one, but it was the safest one, for sure. The majority of the grid had that combination. I realised that I was going to race for second but second feels like a win. The only way we could have been more competitive is with the right tyre choice. From that point of view I am really happy and excited for Estoril next week.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We had no chance of staying with Scott in race two because after two laps the track was completely dry. That was a shame but I felt good on the bike and at the end I played a bit with some settings to find a bit more grip. Three podiums to start the year, on a track I think I have had one podium at in a sprint race on another bike before, but nothing really special. So it is nice to start the season like this. It is just one weekend but I feel good on the bike, which helps. If you are in control on the bike then you can manage the situations a little bit better. This morning in the full wet conditions I felt good. In the dry I felt good. In the mixed conditions we did a good job. In all of these conditions with the bike we understand what is happening and that puts us in a good position going forward.
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Lucas Mahias retired in the sprint race today but was tenth in race two, placing him 15th overall. Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki competitor, and another rookie, Isaac Vinales was 15th and 13th today, having scored point in all three opening races in his native Spain. Loris Cresson and Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) have yet to score points, with Cresson 20th each time and Cavalieri retiring and then 21st in Sunday’s races.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 3, Wins 2, Podiums 3, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 101 (86 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 188 (146 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 28 (24 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 3, Wins 0, Podiums 3, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 27 (7 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)