After a dry opening day of practice on Friday rains appeared and disappeared through the opening raceday on 19 November.
After a thrilling Superpole qualifying session in which Rea finished second and Lowes third, both KRT riders launched off the front row, under what were fully wet track conditions. All WorldSBK riders except one opted for full rain tyre options but as the track dried out and sunshine finally appeared, one-by-one the competitors were forced to enter pitlane to fit slick tyres.
Jonathan benefitted most from his pitstop strategy as he ended a race with seven changes of lead as the rider out front and lapping at a fast pace when the track conditions had stabilised.
Having not won a race since May Rea took full advantage of his latest opportunity and after an early scare on a damp section of asphalt with fresh slick tyres, he rode with a cool head and a fast pace to take the chequered flag.
In second place Toprak Razgatliolgu was pushing Rea as hard as he could but Jonathan managed his race well, crossing the finish line with six seconds of advantage over his closest rival.
Fully in the leading mix when the track conditions were wet, Alex led for five laps and also demonstrated strong pace in the dry conditions at the end.
Lowes stayed out on rain tyres for longer than some other riders but his overall pace on both portions of the race, plus the work done in pit-lane by his technical staff, was more than enough to let Alex score his third podium of the season.
The Tissot-Superpole race, over ten laps, and a full distance Race Two will complete the hard-fought 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship season on Sunday 20 November.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We knew to expect anything today so we had a plan to cover all bases, and then it was about me being calm on the bike and not making silly decisions. In the wet I didn’t feel like my normal self at the beginning. I was able to pass Toprak on the brakes into Turn One and I was just able to haul it up, but I ended up doing a bit of grass tracking. I managed to catch the leaders and then said to myself to ride slowly, as the track was going to dry out and I did not want to waste my tyres. Alex came through with a really good pace and at that point I said, ‘OK, roll the dice and let’s go to the pits.’ I didn’t think it was a risky move, but I probably could have gone in a lap earlier than I did. I gave a signal to my team going down the straight and then committed to come into pitlane. After we rejoined I was just riding to my pitboard. This was a real team win today. I think we completely nailed the pitstop and didn’t lose one second. Big kudos to the team because they did the work really smoothly and they are as much part of that win as me.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “A strange race but I felt I was one of the faster riders in the wet and the dry conditions. Maybe the wrong choice with the pitstop but I was fast in the wet, fast in the dry and always happy to pick up a podium. I just want to be battling at the front and showing my speed. I know I can be fast and I enjoyed the race. It is always a strange one when you have a pit-stop in the middle. Tomorrow it looks like the weather will probably be different again but I feel I can do a good job. I want to sleep well tonight and try to finish the year strongly tomorrow.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 14th in Race One and he scored two more championship points.
Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was eighth in the wet FP3 session, 22nd in Superpole and then a remarkable 12th in the first race. He even led it on lap 14 before Rea came past to take the race win. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) placed 19th in the opening Phillip Island race.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 34, Wins 6, Podiums 28s, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 118 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 243 (201 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 32, Wins 0, Podiums 3, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 32 (12 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: 520 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall