A milestone on the cards: Kawasaki chase their 500th podium in WorldSBK

Saturday, 11 June 2022 15:11 GMT

Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes look ahead to a potential milestone for Kawasaki, which could come as soon as Sunday at Misano

Kawasaki are no strangers to milestones in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, having won six consecutive Championships with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) between 2015 and 2020, as well as numerous statistical records and milestones. At the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round, held at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, Kawasaki could become just the second manufacturer in WorldSBK to record 500 podium placements in WorldSBK.

With Rea claiming second place in Race 1 at Misano, Kawasaki now stand on 498 podiums with only one other manufacturer ahead of them in the overall list. Italian manufacturers Ducati have their own milestone in sight and stand on 995 podiums, but Kawasaki are just two away from a nice round 500 WorldSBK podiums and will be hoping to reach that milestone as soon as possible; with it potentially coming in Sunday’s Tissot Superpole Race. 176 of Kawasaki’s 498 podiums to date have been wins, with 169 podiums coming from second-place results and 153 from third-place results.

Kawasaki’s podium record started all the way back in 1988 when French rider Adrien Morillas took the Japanese manufacturer’s first at the Hungaroring, Hungary while their first on home soil came just a year later in 1989 with Robert Phillis when he took third in Race 1 at Sugo. Other milestones include their 50th podium coming from Aaron Slight at Manfeild in 1992, a century of podiums racked up at Donington Park with Scott Russell in Race 2 and their 200th coming courtesy of 2013 Champion Tom Sykes at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto when he took third in Race 1.

Rea’s first podium for Kawasaki, at Phillip Island Race 1 in 2015, was their 227th in WorldSBK and it kickstarted a remarkable run of six consecutive titles from 2015 to 2020, plus finishing runner-up in 2021 and currently second in the standings this season. The Ulsterman has claimed 182 podiums for Kawasaki, including their 300th at Magny-Cours in 2016 and 450th in the Catalunya Round’s Tissot Superpole Race in 2020; Kawasaki’s 400th podium went to Leon Haslam at Misano in 2019 in the Tissot Superpole Race.

Discussing the potential milestone, Rea said: “I hope it’s achievable. Aside from Assen Race 2, I haven’t been off the podium all season. It’s important to try and cash in on that, a great milestone for Kawasaki. It shows their commitment to WorldSBK and I’m very proud to represent that brand.”

Teammate Alex Lowes, who first competed for Kawasaki in the 2020 season, has taken nine podiums for Kawasaki in two full seasons with the team and will be hoping he can make it onto the rostrum to secure the milestone. His first podium for Kawasaki came at Phillip Island in 2020 when he finished second and he took four that season in total, before claiming a further five in an injury-hit campaign last season.

Lowes said: “That would be nice for Kawasaki. Obviously, I’ve had no podiums yet this year. We maybe had a chance today with Toprak going out, but I need to improve the bike a bit. If I can have a good solid ride tomorrow and get on the podium, it’ll be a nice end to the weekend. A podium is the main aim. We’re not far away, we’re top five all the time, in every session and Superpole, just missing one or two tenths to be able to really put it to those guys.”

Will Kawasaki score their 500th podium placement in WorldSBK? Find out on Sunday at Misano using the WorldSBK VideoPass!