The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK take to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for their home round
The Hyundai N Catalunya Round will be a special event for the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, and riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes, with the team based just a stone’s throw away from the Catalan circuit which will host its second MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship round and kickstart a run of three rounds in three weeks throughout the rest of September and start of October.
Provec Racing, the squad that run the factory Kawasaki effort, are based just outside the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya so the Catalunya Round is very much a ‘home round’ for the outfit. Rea claimed the first victory in WorldSBK at the venue last year with Race 1 honours as the circuit made its debut on the WorldSBK calendar in 2020.
Rea comes into the Catalunya Round on the back of one win and two second places at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, trailing Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in the Championship standings by just seven points. Rea claimed two podiums last time WorldSBK visited Barcelona, winning Race 1 and claiming second in the Tissot Superpole Race, and will be hoping this form, coupled with a mid-season test, helps that gap to close or swing in Rea’s favour.
“It’s exciting to go back to Barcelona, for many reasons,” Rea said. “I had a win in the first ever WorldSBK race there last season and Montmelo is the team’s home round. I spend a lot of time there and even during these COVID times we will have a lot of guests and sponsors there, so it will be even more important to be at 100% to do the best job we can. The circuit’s really nice, I really enjoy it, especially the new Turn 10, which is much more open than the past and the track has more flow now.
“We have tested there in the summer and we were able to make a good step with our Ninja ZX-10RR. It is a circuit that is very critical for tyre wear, so we need to focus on that to be strong at the end of the race. I feel good with our bike and I was able to fight in Magny-Cours for the podium and in Barcelona the target will be the same. The Championship is very close and now we have three rounds in a row, so it is so important to be strong - but also to be consistent and make no mistakes. What happens in these next three weeks will have a big impact on the Championship, so I am super-excited to get going.”
Teammate Lowes heads into the Catalunya Round on the back of strong pace in France that did not translate into three strong results, with crashes from podium places in Race 1 and Race 2 being sandwiched by a podium in the Superpole Race. Lowes will take confidence from the strong pace he was able to show and hope he can take that into the Catalunya Round.
Lowes said: “Obviously the Catalunya race is a special one because it is a home race for a lot of the members of the team and the headquarters are just a stone’s throw from the start-finish straight. It is a really special event for all the guys. It is a great track and a great addition to the WorldSBK calendar last year. I really enjoy the layout. Unfortunately, at the test we had earlier this year I only did a few laps because my shoulder was restricting me at that time. But the laps I did do were good. The new shape Turn 10 is quite a difficult one to get right, from a riding point of view, because it opens up on the exit. You have to really control the bike from spinning too much, which if we have hot conditions is going to be really important. It is a passing opportunity, but it also allows the last sector of the lap to flow a lot better. I am looking forward to this weekend and the goal is to get back on the podium. We had good speed in Magny-Cours so we want to keep that going.”
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