In Superpole qualifying session on Saturday morning the on-track action was cut short after a wildcard rider’s machine started to billow out blue smoke and a red flag was subsequently shown for safety reasons.
With less than two minutes remaining of the Superpole session, the qualifying contest was ended in its entirety by the officials, with Rea in sixth position and Lowes tenth. Alex had experienced a slow speed crash at the start of the Superpole session but was on his way to a better qualifying place until the red flag came out.
After the red flag dramas of Superpole the first 21-lap race of the weekend was delayed and then cut to its final duration of 20 laps, with full points awarded.
Rea had a battle on his hands as he tried to fight for the early off-podium positions with Axel Bassani, but he ended up in sixth place for most of the race, gaining one place after Danilo Petrucci fell and could not restart.
Rea then had to hold off the aggressive advances of Dominique Aegerter in the final laps, making sure of his fifth place advantage at the flag as Aegerter ran wide after an attempted pass into the Quercia corner.
Lowes was in a fight with Remy Gardner and several other riders, coming out on top at the chequered flag and ending up just two seconds behind Aegerter, in an eventual seventh place.
A ten-lap Superpole Race, and then a 21-lap Race Two, will conclude the Misano WorldSBK action on Sunday 4 June.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I said to the guys in the garage that I have not fought as hard for a race win as I did for that fifth place. At the end myself and Aegerter swapped places quite a few times. In the beginning I felt quite OK. The bike was working and I felt like my pace was OK. As soon as I started to get into the race and the tyres dropped a bit I had to ride in a completely different way, and it wasn’t working. The bike, with grip, feels like a different one. When the grip drops I need a different set-up to get the benefit when the tyres are moving around. We have a good idea how we can fix the problem but it is just going to take a lot of time. So it is frustrating.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We got a bit unlucky today. I made a mistake on the first lap of Superpole, but then I was on a really good lap. I was over half a second faster than my best lap, and then we had the red flag. That was a shame. Although there was nearly two minutes left they did not run to the end of the Superpole session. We did get caught out and tenth was not our true place on the grid. I got a good start but ran a little bit wide trying to pass Lecuona, then Gardner passed me, Redding passed me, so for the first five or six laps I was battling. Once I got my head down and got clear, I was able to set good pace, sort of top six pace, and I felt quite good on the bike for the rest of the race.”
Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) qualified 21st and then raced to 19th place in his first WorldSBK ride of the season. Isaac Vinales (TPR by Vinales Racing Kawasaki) qualified 23rd and was 20th in Race One.
Luca Vitali (Orelac Racing Movisio Kawasaki), the stand-in rider for Oliver Konig at this round, was unable to make the start of the eventual 20-lap race and was not classified.
2023 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2023: Races 13, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 118 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 249 (207 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)
2023: Races: 13, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 34 (14 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: 177 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 528 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall