Rea, KawasakI flex muscles in near-perfect 2021 WorldBK premiere

Jonathan Rea gives the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR an exceptional debut WorldSBK weekend with two wins at Motorland Aragon 2021 opener.

Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes - Kawasaki Racing Team 2021

Jonathan Rea’s quest for a seventh WorldSBk title is off to a =n excellent start even by his lofty standards after winning two races and finishing second in the third at Motorland Aragon. 

With the 2021 WorldSBK opener occurring some three months later than usual due to COVID-19 initiated calendar changes, the riders also had the benefit of competing at an Aragon venue used regularly for testing.

It meant Rea’s new Kawasaki ZX-10RR weapon could benefit from greater pre-season development time and it showed with only changeable conditions in a drizzly Spain arguably preventing him from wrapping up all three races.

Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja and ZX10RR (2021) Review | Jonathan Rea WorldSBK For the Road Tested

A dominant winner in the warm, dry first race from pole position - which in turn marked the Ulsterman’s 100th career victory - Rea kept his cool in the damp Superpole Race to make it two from two.

He had to work harder in race two though when Garrett Gerloff collided with him while attempting to pass for the lead. Despite dropping to fifth, Rea fought back to second at the flag. Together with the evolving conditions, Rea wass very satisfied to demonstrate such performance despite the challenges.

“I am really content with the weekend because to win the first race of the season was 100 times better than last year, and also to claim my 100th victory was a real target of mine. I never experienced conditions like this in my whole career, where it really is a big tyre choice by the minute. Every minute it changes. 

“With three minutes to go in race two I was asking Pere if they still had slicks on the grid! The Superpole race was the first time I had ever raced the intermediate tyres so huge kudos to Pirelli. I decided after that experience to use that tyre choice in the final race as well. It was the safest option. 

“It wasn’t the right one, but it was the safest one, for sure. The majority of the grid had that combination. I realised that I was going to race for second but second feels like a win. 

“The only way we could have been more competitive is with the right tyre choice. From that point of view I am really happy and excited for Estoril next week.”

Rea’s results were consolidated by team-mate Alex Lowes doing his bit for Kawasaki 1-2 in the opening two races, before securing a third place in race two.