The opening FP1 session saw spots of rain fall and then even heavier rains appear soon after the session had got under way. This left some riders with an early dry lap time to their name and others with a Friday personal best only set in the slower wet conditions.
Rains continued for a time in FP2 in the afternoon, with another disruption when a red flag stopped the session. A crashed machine had left some debris on the track surface, making conditions unsafe and causing a short delay before FP2 could be concluded.
After FP2 was complete Rea was the fastest rider in that session, riding confidently in the slippery conditions. Lowes was a strong third quickest, proving his pace in both dry and wet conditions.
A recent mid-season Barcelona - Catalunya test session for both Alex and Jonathan played its part in the arrival of some set-up improvements, particularly in the case of Lowes, who ended day one fastest of all in France.
The 4.411km long Magny Cours circuit is expected to feature dry conditions for FP3, Superpole Qualifying and then Race One on Saturday, with the potential for even greater improvement in time for Sunday’s two races.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “On my out lap this morning I felt it OK then during the first chrono I started to get spots on my visor. Then the rain kept coming, so it is how it is. In the wet conditions this morning it was a bit wetter than it finished this afternoon in FP2. I felt good in the full wet. In the afternoon we went to work on a drying track/wet set-up because in 2020 I got caught out with a dry line appearing but getting no drive out of the corners. I felt we made a good improvement. It would have been good to get a dry session today, given the weekend is going to be dry. FP3 could be a very important session tomorrow morning.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I am not worried about being fastest as everybody got a couple of dry laps this morning. I am always good at getting down to pace quite quickly. I was more happy with my pace in the rain; I felt really good on the bike in the rain. We have improved the rear of the bike at the last test, trying to get more grip in the dry and that has transferred over to the rain too. I am happy with the first day while understanding that it was a bit strange with the weather. Hopefully we will have a bit more consistent weather for Saturday. But the initial feeling here with the bike is good.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 21st of the 24 riders on day one, as he was also caught out by the changing weather conditions at his home track.
New rider Oscar Gutierrez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) found pace enough for 14th place, with rookie season WorldSBK rider Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) 16th quickest on Friday.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 18, Wins 5, Podiums 15, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 117 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 230 (188 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 38 (34 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 17, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 30 (10 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: 176 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 505 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 103 – second overall