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Rea Breaks Through 200 Podium Finishes
Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes both scored strongly on the final day of action at the FIM Superbike World Championship event in the Czech Republic. In the ten-lap Tissot Superpole Race Rea was third - his 200th podium finish in WorldSBK - and then replicated that result in a full distance Race Two. Lowes was seventh and then sixth in Sunday’s races
In the 11am Superpole race Jonathan rode to third place for an unprecedented 200th podium finish in WorldSBK racing, the vast majority scored while using Kawasaki machinery. On the slowdown lap he met members of his KRT squad and they released 200 balloons into the clear blue skies above the circuit to celebrate the six-time champions’ latest career landmark. He even extended it to a new total of 201 career podiums after Race Two.
Lowes, starting from ninth place on the grid, finished the Tissot Superpole Race seventh, putting himself further up the third row of the grid for the afternoon’s Race Two.
Rea set a new lap record in the ‘sprint’ race with a 1’31.996 lap time as he harried initial race leader Toprak Razgatlioglu early in the ten lap contest. He was to make a small error and run off track, taking to the escape road at T1, with one lap to go. In doing so he lost time to Razgatlioglu, but not his immediate second place track position. Scott Redding finally passed Jonathan, who finished third.
Rea’s determination to score a race win was clear in the Superpole race, but in Race Two he had to fight through from fourth to take up third place as part of a small, but combative, group featuring Andrea Locatelli and Lowes.
Eventual race winner Scott Redding and second place rider Toprak Razgatlioglu had already made a significant gap back to Jonathan and third was the best result Rea could take away after a sometimes tough weekend of work, including two crashes on Saturday.
Having held fifth for almost the entire length of Race Two Lowes came under late pressure and lost one position on the final two laps. Strong early on he had simply begun to tire after the effect of some recent falls caught up with him. Nonetheless, Alex added a top six finish at a physically demanding track with 21 turns along its 4.212km length.
In the overall championship Jonathan still leads by three points, from Razgatlioglu and he is 50 points ahead of Redding. Lowes is still fourth overall.
Navarra in Spain hosts the seventh round of the WorldSBK Championship, between 20-22 August, but before the next round KRT will have a test session at their home circuit in Barcelona, on 12 and 13 August.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “In the Superpole race I was completely on the limit, extracting all the potential from our Ninja ZX-10RR. It was a fun race but I made a small mistake and got sucked in behind Toprak a little bit. In the second race I had opted for the hard rear tire, the more conservative option, because I never did many laps with the SCX tire, except in the Superpole race for ten laps. My early rhythm was okay, but I got a little bit stuck behind Locatelli, but after I went past him could not close the gap to Scott and Toprak. They had better rhythm today so it was more about third. I did not accept that on the grid, but I thought maybe in the second part of the race it would come to me because I had the hard tire, but I started with less grip and the drop off was the same. We are only halfway through the championship and the twists and turns that have happened already can happen in the second half of the season as well. At least I am at the top with a very small points gap to Toprak, but we know who we are fighting and what we are fighting with. We have a lot of experience to lean on from the past, so I feel in a good position.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “In Race Two for the first few laps I felt quite good and I was able to follow the front group. Then obviously the second half it was not as easy for me. I have some restrictions on myself and I can’t ride like I want. We could see how hard Johnny was having to push. We could see that today we made some good steps forward with the bike set-up. I was a lot better entering the corner and I was able to flow a lot more. In this track you need to be smooth and flowing. I felt better today with the bike that’s for sure.”
Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) finished his Sunday races in 17th position each time to also sit 17th In the championship with 19 points.
Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) and Jayson Uribe (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) finished 19th and 20th respectively in the Superpole race. In Race Two Cresson was 20th and Uribe 21st.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 18, Wins 8, Podiums 16, Superpoles 6
Career Race Wins: 107 (92 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 201 (159 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 33 (29 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 18, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 28 (8 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: 166 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 474 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 98 – second overall