On a day of ever-changing weather the official KRT squad faced challenges once more, in a wet but rapidly drying ten-lap Tissot-Superpole race and then a planned full distance Race Two. The last race of the year was cut short by five laps after a two rider crash brought the race to an abrupt end.
Rea was looking set to challenge for a win in the Superpole race, running out front with Toprak Razgatlioglu, but as the track dried the slick tyre options chosen by Alvaro Bautista saw him pass by on the developing dry line to take the win. Rea was just 0.043 seconds from Razgatlioglu at the flag, securing third place.
In the second race Jonathan led for five laps and then stuck with final leading rider Bautista right to the unexpected end, waiting to attack during the closing laps to take one last 2022 season race win. The red flag ended his chance of another victory and Jonathan was second, in what was eventually a 17-lap race.
Lowes was once again riding confidently with the leading group in each Sunday race, finishing fourth in the Superpole ‘sprint.’ He had passed Razgatlioglu for third place in Race Two, on lap 15, and was therefore ranked third when the red flag was shown to end the contest - and the season.
In the final championship standings Rea is third overall with 502 points, just 27 points behind second place rider Razgatlioglu. Alex placed sixth overall, with 272 points, just two points from a top five finish after 12 rounds.
Now that the WorldSBK championship is finished for the season, winter testing sessions will take place before the new WorldSBK hopefuls will reconvene at Phillip Island again in the final weekend of February for the first races of the 2023 season.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “After race two there is a mixture of disappointment and happiness to finish the year this way because I felt in that race that my bike set-up was much better. We had more stability, more traction, side grip and acceleration off the corner. But in sector four I just lost too much. It was everything I could do to be there again at Turn Four, by taking too much risk and using up some tyre. Even doing that the tyre wasn’t dropping, so kudos to Pirelli. I think bringing these harder construction tyres for Phillip Island is the way forward. The race might be a little slower, but to stay in the 1’31 flat lap times, right to the end, was really very good. I think we have to be really satisfied with our effort this season. Of course, I made a few mistakes along the way but also I think the final result are a highlight of where we are. We need to improve, but in saying that I think we were more or less 25 points away from Toprak Razgatlioglu at the end of the season - the guy who won the championship last year. This year there was a new weapon to fight at the front so we need to maximise all we can. The team has been fantastic, and in the tough moments we have shown how strong a team we are.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “At this track this bike is quite stable and that helps. I have always gone well here. I think without the red flag I could have still fought for third position anyway in the final race. When I knew I could not catch Jonathan and Alvaro I dropped my lap time maybe half a second, trying to look after my tyres on the left side. I knew for sure that I was going to get ‘Topraked’ at the end of the race! When I passed him it looked like he was struggling more than me; his bike was sliding and was a bit unstable. I was sure it was going to be a last lap battle. I was looking forward to it because I have not had a good battle with him this year. It is just good to be up there competing with those guys in the races, in all the track and weather conditions. A strong end to the season for me.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) placed 11th and then 13th in the Sunday races at Phillip Island, ending his season in 14th palce overall.
Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 20th and then 14th in the final two races of his rookie season, leaving him 27th overall. Late season call-up Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 18th in each race on Sunday.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 36, Wins 6, Podiums 30, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 118 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 245 (203 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 35, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 33 (13 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: 523 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall