With the hot sun baking the 4.423km circuit at Jerez, the first 20 lap race of the weekend was always going to be a tough test and so it proved for all WorldSBK 23 riders.
In the early stages Rea took the lead and headed the field for 15 laps before being overtaken into turn six. With his front tyre having already given its best Rea was unable to mount a fight back and ran out a strong second despite the punishing conditions.
After qualifying second in Superpole Rea started the race from the front row of the grid on his Ninja ZX-10RR, while Lowes was unable to set his desired Superpole pace and finished up 14th. He had fallen early in Superpole and this held back his final pace on qualifying tyres at the end.
After the first contest of a three race weekend Alex is in second place in the points standings, with Jonathan having moved up to third place.
Rea and Lowes will now face one ten lap Superpole race and then a second full 20-lap race two, both on Sunday 2 August. Today’s WorldSBK race got underway shortly after a minute’s silence was held to recognise those who have fallen victim to the global Covid-19 Pandemic.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “That is probably the best performance we have done in Jerez for a number of years now. We have got to be really happy with our effort but I am a little bit disappointed that I had nothing left at the end for Scott. I had a few front slides in turn two and it was enough just to knock my confidence a little bit to start thinking to bring it home. We are not loading the front enough so we have some areas to improve for tomorrow. The good thing is that the rear tyre was working really well all race and had a lot of traction. This is not the strongest circuit for us but I was right there in the mix until the last few laps.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I tucked the front in the first lap of Superpole, which was a shame, as it put pressure on for the one lap on the qualifying tyre. In the race I struggled a lot more than I expected. The SC2 front tyre worked really well for me on Friday afternoon and I did a lot of laps on it, but today it did not seem to work as well. I think I need a bit more experience of the Kawasaki in hot conditions to get the most out of it. It is easy to forget that this is my second proper ride on it. When you go around Jerez in the winter and the weather is cool you just ride around, can do loads of laps, and everything feels good. The you come here in these temperatures and everything feels a bit different. I had to just manage the race the best I could and we will try to improve a bit for tomorrow.”
Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 13th in his home race, with Sandro Cortese (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) 14th, scoring two points.
Maximilian Scheib (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) retired from race one.
2020 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
2020: Races 4, Wins 1, Podiums 3, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 89 (74 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 171 (129 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 23 (19 for Kawasaki)
2020: Races: 4, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 22 (2 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
7 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
5 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018 & 2019)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 148 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 438 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 88 – second overall