Enjoying two days on track with the new Ninja ZX-10RR, Rea set a 1’38.713 lap time on qualifying tyres in the final morning, even though the track surface was beginning to show signs of wear and tear in some areas.
Rea was quickest on both race and qualifying rubber, as he and his technical crew tried new chassis balance and suspension initiatives that delivered positive results all round.
With two days of largely dry weather, the pace of the top WorldSBK riders improved steadily from the beginning of the final day, with the slightly cooler conditions early on providing the best conditions to go for a best lap time.
Rea set his best time in the morning today but new KRT signing Haslam made his greatest progress towards the end, as he works his way back into the WorldSBK paddock. Leon set the third best time overall, a 1’39.766, but also showed good pace over race distance.
With a winter break from track action now kicking in Kawasaki will evaluate the data from the Motorland Aragon and Jerez tests before heading back to Jerez and then Portimao in late January for their final European based winter tests of the 2019 season.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was a positive final day. We are putting the pieces together and we have to be satisfied with the work. It is always difficult when the track is not in great shape. In all those tight corners, with the ruts developing, it is difficult to feel the confidence to push to the maximum. Aside from that, the track temperatures are very critical here with the base tyre that we have. Like yesterday, we tried some different things with the bike and at the end of the day we tried something quite interesting with the balance. I felt really good with an old tyre so that is something to keep working with in 2019. I also did a longer run in the middle of the day. We did pretty much what we set out to do at this test and I was on the pace on day one, so we could go testing straight away.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “I am really happy with these two days. We really worked on my feeling with the bike. Not making too big a change and not trying any of the soft, experimental tyres. Every time we put a new tyre in we did not really gain much time but we just worked on the race set-up and race distance, and on changing my style to adapt to the bike. Every time out, every session, every day, we are getting a few tenths closer and in the end I was really happy with my pace on tyres with a lot of laps on them. I managed to get out on track with Jonathan for a few laps and see how he has changed in his style to make the bike go forward. That helped a lot.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Honestly speaking, maybe we missed a little bit of time to still try a couple of things, but not the important ones. The priorities, the important points to work with and understand the direction for next year, have been tested. They have been good and some we even tested and then tested again to reconfirm. We have a new engine so we have to confirm some points for next year. We have been focused on the balance of the chassis and we have made another step forward. We have been working with Showa, to improve our package, and it has been positive. We also gave Pirelli information on the new tyres. Finally, Johnny was able to do the fastest lap with the qualifying tyre and then the fastest lap with race tyre. We have collected all the information we needed and now we will start thinking about the best points to prepare for more tests in January.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Leon Haslam, stated: “This test was good because the time we had in Motorland Aragon at the previous sessions was a bit short but we continued our text programme here and I am very satisfied with the result. As everybody knows Leon has been out of this championship for three years, and now he is mixing with riders who have been winning races in the last couple of seasons in WorldSBK. Leon being one of the fastest guys with a qualifying tyre makes me confident. We did 100 laps today and he was fit, motivated and we did not make so many changes to the bike. Leon adapted himself to the bike and in the end, especially over distance, he is there. He is more than there. After ten laps his speed is very, very competitive.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “Jerez has been the final test of the season and the last time all at KRT will work together in 2018 to give our riders the best package to challenge limits and attack the stopwatch. We are so happy with Rea’s end of year performance and we are all together working so hard to start in Australia with a Jonathan Rea nobody has ever seen before. The biggest surprise is that he is the most motivated of any team member! Leon has accepted a difficult challenge this year but after three years out of this championship he has demonstrated a huge motivation to be on top again and to give his best again. In his blood he has racing fuel and we are sure we can help him a lot to make the best of himself. It will not be easy with only three months to arrive at 100% in Australia for the first race. But, for Leon to be so high in the rankings at this test, ahead of several WorldSBK race-winning riders from last year, is something we must recognize in him. Big credit to him and we can be sure he will be in the show next year. I want to use this last event of the year for KRT’s racing activities to thank all our sponsors. Especially Kawasaki but also Monster, Motocard, ELF and all the others that make this dream possible. Thanks to the fans to give us power to continue working hard every year and especially the KRT riders. They are the ones who always give their maximum on our ZX-10RR. Big respect to them.”
2018 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2018: Races 25, Wins 17, Podiums 22, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 134 (92 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
2018: Races: 4, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 39 (1 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: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 380 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 81 – second overall