Rea leader and Lowes second in the first WorldSBK round of the year
Jonathan Rea finishes the first weekend of the season leading the 2021 WorldSBK championship, while his teammate Alex Lowes takes the podium twice.
The 2021 WorldSBK World Championship kicked off this past weekend in May at Motorland Aragón. The riders of the Kawasaki Racing Team, consisting of Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea, were ready to start giving a show with the new Ninja ZX-10RR. With it, Lowes set his best time in the first morning session on Friday, while Rea found several details in the set-up to improve his time in FP2 and enter the top 5 of the general standings.
Already during the afternoon, the heat that accompanied the riders in the morning increased, thus increasing the temperature of the track surface to 48ºC, and offering less grip as a consequence.
The next day, Rea, Lowes and the rest of the riders woke up to relatively cooler conditions than the day before. During the Superpole, Rea registered a new best time of 1'48.458, while Lowes placed fourth, securing the first position of the second row of the grid.
The championship could not have started better for the KRT team. In the opening race, Rea led and Lowes was second, gaining a joint one-second lead over the chasing group in just two laps. This initial advantage gradually increased, to such an extent that Rea was able to continue his career in a calm, relaxed and controlled way until the flag that marked the end.
Lowes, meanwhile, pulled away from Rea after suffering two slips on the front end, and was eventually caught up and overtaken by Toprak Razgatlioglu on lap 11. He was able to control his pace, and made one last effort overtaking him right on the last lap, to take the second place.
After two sunny days at Motorland, the rains came on Sunday morning, making the Warm Up session totally wet. In the first race of the day, the ten-lap sprint, Rea was able to maintain his pole position, only being overtaken for a short time before regaining his leadership. Finally, he went under the checkered flag with a 3.5-second lead over Lowes.
The second of the day was finally in dry track conditions, with Scott Redding and his slicks achieving the first victory of the year. Rea finished second, despite being pushed off the track when another rider over-braked into the corner. Fortunately, there were no serious consequences for him and he started up again from fifth position to get a terrific second place. Lowes also managed the second race well, using his intermediate tires in the best possible way to finish third.
Ana Carrasco has also finished the Aragón weekend satisfied, after almost nine months without competing since her spinal injury. In the first race of the season, she made a great comeback after being lagged to the rear by running off the track in an incident, setting a circuit record along the way.
In Sunday's race threatened by rain, the Murcian rider climbed from 13th position on the grid to no less than 5th in a highly contested group race as usual in the category.
This first test of the season will be followed by the Estoril round in Portugal, between May 28 and 30.