The first ‘flyaway’ race weekend of the 2022 season got underway beneath a strong Argentinian sun on Friday 21 October, with track temperatures in the afternoon’s Free Practice two rising to over 50°C.
Lowes and Rea were pleasantly surprised that the track surface at Villicum offered good grip even from the first session. Fast lap times were set very early in the opening session by the top riders.
There was a significant ten degree rise in track temperatures between FP1 and FP2, which meant that some riders improved their best times but others were not able to as the track’s grip characteristics changed and the wind strengthened.
Rea would finish FP2 as the fastest rider in the afternoon heat and increasing wind and he would be second in the Friday combined times. Lowes was fourth overall and happy to have started a race weekend in a positive fashion once again.
With Friday’s action now complete the KRT duo will head into a busy Saturday, with Free Practice Three, Tissot-Superpole qualifying and then a full 21-lap Race One to be faced, the latter at 15.00 local time in San Juan.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “A positive day. I got off to a decent rhythm straight away and I felt OK with the bike. The grip level surprised us because we never know what we are going to find at this track because it does not get a lot of use. We used the same tyre all the way in FP1 and I did my fastest lap at the end, which was nice. It seems like tyre consumption is not going to be an issue this weekend, even in the heat. In the afternoon we could be quite strong. My rhythm was OK with the SCX rear tyre and I think I have got my front tyre choice figured out for tomorrow. Just a few issues to iron out now to maximise acceleration.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “The conditions of the track changed quite a lot this afternoon. I planned to do a long run on the softer front tyre and with the SCX on the rear. I was quite fast but the front was sliding a lot so I came in to make a small chassis change. Some positives and some negatives, but I think we can improve the balance of the bike for tomorrow. In the end my pace was not bad, I am in the mix, so I am quite happy.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 16th fastest on Friday, Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 20th and one-off rider Marco Solorza (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 22nd at his home circuit.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 27, Wins 5, Podiums 21, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 117 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 236 (194 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 26, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 31 (11 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: 512 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall