Before the first race had even begun there was a historic moment of drama in Superpole qualifying. On a dry track surface Rea had set a 1’36.124 lap time to lead the field only for Toprak Razgatlioglu to equal his time - right down to the thousandth of a second.
Two riders setting the exactly the same time in Superpole qualifying had never happened before but in any case Jonathan was confirmed in pole position because his next best lap time was better than Razgatlioglu’s.
In the opening race Lowes was involved in a fight with Garrett Gerloff and eventually finished ahead of him in a strong fourth place, passing his American rival on lap 17 of 21 and even closing on the final podium position for a time.
Rea was looking good for a strong race result after going third on lap one but he was to fall entering the final chicane on lap three. A sensor located near his bike’s front left brake calliper had touched the high inside kerb and lifted his front tyre off the track surface while at full lean angle.
Jonathan slid off the track, without injury, and restarted the race. He went into the pits for a short time for his team to make repairs and he completed the race, finishing one lap down on the leaders.
Both KRT riders will be aiming for podium finishes on Sunday 11 September at the 4.411km long Magny Cours circuit, during the ten-lap Superpole race and finally a full distance Race Two.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Today was frustrating because it was the smallest of margins in the crash. I got caught out by the brake disc sensor, underneath the air duct for the front brake calipers, which just touched the kerb at the entrance to the chicane. At full lean angle this was just enough to pick up the front. The bike was pretty bent when I crashed and I could not get the handlebar into position to be comfortable. I pitted, as I was so far behind, just to get more comfortable. That was enough to let us do 20 laps to understand the bike set-up, the drop of the tyre, positives and negatives. So I am pretty satisfied that I did not give up and quit when it would have been easier to throw the towel in. I am very grateful to my mechanics who encouraged me on my pitboard every lap. We got no points but we got some data. Superpole was cool. I did not know why it went to me at first but because I did the second best lap time, I got it. It was a nice way to start the day.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “It was disappointing really because I thought my pace was better. I was struggling at the start to pass the guys. My bike was turning well and really good in some parts of the track. But I couldn’t really pass and then get away, getting stuck behind people. I did OK but I think tomorrow I can do a bit better. In Superpole I was annoyed because I did four laps the same but I needed a few tenths to get on the front row. I wanted to be there because my pace has been strong all weekend. I didn’t quite make it but I have been consistent all weekend in all conditions and physically I feel great. That’s good compared to the last races.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was a top ten finisher after the first race of his home WorldSBK weekend.
Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) placed 22nd and new rider Oscar Gutierrez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 23rd in Race One.
2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 19, Wins 5, Podiums 15, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 117 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 230 (188 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 39 (35 for Kawasaki)
2022: Races: 18, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 30 (10 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: 505 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 104 – second overall