Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes will have an opportunity to add further momentum their 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship campaigns during a two-day test at the Motorland Aragon circuit in northern Spain, between 22-23 March.
A tough couple of rounds at the back-to-back season openers in Phillip Island and Mandalika nevertheless delivered a podium result apiece to Lowes and Rea.
Rea was second in the opening race of the season in wet conditions, at something of a second home for him personally; Phillip Island. Lowes was third in the Superpole Race at Mandalika, underlining that with an optimum set-up from track-to-track the latest homologation of Ninja ZX-10RR has the attributes required to compete at the highest levels of production-derived racing. Currently Rea is sixth in the championship standings, with Lowes 12th.
The aim of each rider and their technical staff at the Aragon test is to find and underline their optimum base settings before reconfirming them at a second test at the end of March.
Motorland Aragon has been the backdrop for no fewer than 31 individual WorldSBK races since its first appearance on the calendar in 2011. The impressively proportioned circuit will host a WorldSBK round again this season but not until late September.
After the Motorland test sessions have been completed, the KRT squad moves even closer to home base with a test at the Montmelo circuit in Catalunya, between 30-31 March.
The next competitive round of the championship takes place at Assen in the Netherlands, between 21-23 April.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “This Motorland test comes at a really good time for us after a difficult first couple of rounds. We now have four days of track testing planned between now and the next round at Assen, to work through some ideas that the team has in understanding our weak areas and trying to improve the bike further. It is clear we need to pull together and do a good job in these tests. Aragon is a track that we have a lot of info about, so hopefully we can put that to good use. Also it will be just nice to ride the bike again because without these two tests, it would be a big gap between the Mandalika and Assen race weekends. Motorland will be a test to try out some different things to stop overloading the front and create an easier bike to ride. That is the target for me in the test.”
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I am fully motivated for this test after a tough start to the year. I have had a couple of weeks off, just to refresh a bit, spend some time with the family and do some good training. I am ready to go. We have a few ideas to turn around the feeling on the bike. When we have grip, we seem pretty competitive. But when we lose grip we seem to drop more than some other teams. We are going to focus on being stronger on used tyres and keeping our pace for a bit longer. All we can do is really maximise the strong parts of the bike. We have a couple of days this week and then another test at Montmelo soon after to try and improve. We had track temperatures at Mandalika of over 60°C and even though it was a tough weekend we still got a podium in the sprint race. So, the speed is still there. We are going to try to maximise things to be a bit stronger when the grip drops and if we can improve that area a bit, then going into the European season we can expect to be strong.”