Rea was once again fighting at the front as part of the ‘titanic trio’ but finished third in the Championship standings
One of the defining themes of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign was the incredible three-way fight between Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), title winner Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK). Despite his best efforts, Rea finished third in the Championship while it was also the position for Kawasaki in the Manufacturers’ Championship, and KRT’s Team Manager, Guim Roda, looked back on the thrilling campaign after the Australian Round.
Kawasaki racked up 34 podiums throughout 2022 with riders Rea and teammate Alex Lowes, but only six wins as Bautista and Razgatlioglu shared the majority of them. Rea was able to claim five pole positions throughout 2022 as he edged closer to the all-time Tissot Superpole record of 51, held by the returning Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), as he took third in the Championship despite incredible fights against both Bautista and Razgatlioglu.
Reflecting on 2022, Roda outlined where he hopes to find gains for 2023. He said: “We struggled a little bit more than the others when the track surface as not grippy enough and this happens in summertime with hot conditions. We need to improve this area especially. Other than that, of course, engine power is a thing we should improve so we have to understand how to cut this gap to be more competitive, especially compared to Bautista and his characteristics and ways to extract the maximum from the Ducati. Of course, BMW, Honda and Yamaha are working hard with their bikes. We need to work hard and react a little bit.”
The fights between the leading three riders in 2023 often led to them being referred to as the ‘titanic trio’ and on several occasions, the battle for the win came down to a last-lap showdown. Meanwhile, Lowes was aiming to fight for the podium after enjoying an injury-free campaign as he took four podiums on his way to sixth in the Championship; his joint best for Kawasaki since he joined the Japanese manufacturer in 2020.
Praising both Rea and Lowes for their 2022 seasons, Roda said: “It’s the season where Rea’s fought the most, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, he could not get the title back with better results, but I think it’s the season he really tried harder and we should be able to give him a better package to be more comfortable to fight with the others. Basically, for Lowes, 2020 was a Covid year and only had eight rounds; not a lot of time to learn how to ride the bike. It was difficult in three months for him to understand. He struggled last year with injuries, so he was getting a big penalty for that.
“This third season he could start to work a bit more to understand how to manage the bike and stay strong enough. He’s showing the potential to stay in this fourth position behind the top three. I think he was more consistent than others but unfortunately two or three more podiums from Rinaldi and Locatelli made the difference. In terms of average and consistency, race by race, I think he’s the fourth guy in the Championship right now. We are sure we will give him better tools next year, and he will understand how to ride much better and he will be closer to the top three.”
Re-watch some of the incredible fights from 2022 and get ready for even more action in 2023 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!