The team had originally planned to do two days of testing at the 4.657km ‘Montmelo’ track but opted to ride on the second day only to try and best simulate the hot track conditions that would allow them to make the greatest progress in real world race conditions. This also gives the team the option of one more day of testing later in the season.
Even though the track temperature was little changed on the second and final day of testing at Montmelo the intense day of work provided both KRT riders with confirmation of recent set-up developments to take forward to the next few rounds of the 2023 Superbike World Championship.
Even over one day of track action at Montmelo both Lowes and Rea got to try out the latest front and rear development tyres provided by WorldSBK single make supplier Pirelli, with each rider praising their performance.
Rea ended up third fastest overall, with a 1’40.659 pace. Lowes was fifth fastest, with a 1’40.853 best single lap time.
After the two recent private tests in Iberia the WorldSBK championship restarts at Assen in the Netherlands, between 21-23 April. The two opening rounds have already been completed, in Australia and Indonesia.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We are trying some new things and the team is working really hard. We decided to sacrifice yesterday in favour of the final day as we expected the track conditions would be a bit warmer. That was what we were looking for. In reality we got similar track conditions to the first day and some more wind. There was a big headwind going into T1 along the front straight. But we were able to consistently set-up the bike and do the work that we needed to do. Our plan was to continue working with our new set-up change that we used in Motorland at the previous test. We have taken some weight out of the front end, in the heavy braking areas, to save the front tyre for the end of the races. I think we have had some positive results. Barcelona is a very critical track for tyre consumption. We never did a full race simulation but I felt my pace was OK to fight, to be there. We found some positives here because what we found in Aragon is also working at Barcelona. It is quite a different set-up to what we normally run. The bike feels easier to ride as well. Electronically, we squeezed in another item at the end that our test rider Florian Marino had been working on today. All-in-all, a decent day of riding. I tried the latest Pirelli front and rear tyre solutions and both had positive results. I think they are tyre options we will see in the coming races, especially in the summer. For me, they were better than the base tyre, which is always good. It shows Pirelli are working hard and listening to the feedback of all the riders.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a good test. We were hoping for some really hot and slippery track conditions to test different items on the bike. I have a different riding position that I have already spoken about after the Aragon test. We kept that development here at Montmelo and it feels positive for me. I felt great on the bike. We did some good long runs on used tyres, trying to improve front tyre life after 10-12 laps. I think we found a good direction. In the afternoon we tried some softer tyres from Pirelli and I was able to make a series of good laps. It was really positive. We would have liked hotter track conditions but we did plenty of laps, enjoyed it, and improved my feeling on the bike a little bit. We know our limitations with a little bit of speed but if we can extract everything from the bike at Assen, I think we can fight for the podium, which is our target. Thanks to all the guys, it has been a good test and now we need to recharge and get ready for the start of the European season.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “We had one day on track and we decided to save one for later in the year. This test at Montmelo was good. Everybody else did two days and we only did the final day, but Johnny was fast right away from the first session in the morning. He feels OK with the bike and we confirmed a couple of things from the chassis side that we had tested in Motorland Aragon recently. Now it is clear what we will use as a base in Assen for the next round. From the engine side, and especially in electronics, we have kept working with our new crew member Sander Donkers on different areas that we still think we can improve. In the end we also tried some development tyres from Pirelli, front and rear, and they were quite good. Overall, it seems to have been a positive test and now we will go to Assen for the next round.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “In the end we managed the test similar to the recent one in Aragon. We needed time on a different track to understand our bike a bit better. Over the winter we made quite a few changes to our bike set-up and in the first two rounds we couldn’t extract the maximum performance, because we didn’t really understand the behaviour of the bike. In the Aragon test we made some good steps forward and in this Montmelo test we confirmed those settings again on a different track. We also used a bike similar to last year and we confirmed that our latest package is working better than last year’s race bike. Overall, we did 77 laps in one day, I think, and they were good. We also got to try two new tyres. What they brought was again a big step better. We are happy with the progress of Pirelli.”
2023 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2023: Races 6, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 118 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 246 (204 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)
2023: Races: 6, 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: 177 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 525 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall