Catalunya WorldSBK test: Home test important for Rea and KRT| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
Kawasaki’s Racing Team, operated in Europe by Provec, is situated in the edge of an industrial estate in Catalunya, which finds its limit only at the very edge of the boundary fence for the Montmelo circuit itself.
It is, as the crow flies, a few hundred metres from KRT’s workshops to the circuit that will host a round of the WorldSBK championship for the first time this year.
This factor makes the current WorldSBK tests at the circuit an important one for the squad, and for the whole paddock, who will come here to race for real in mid-September.
Rea had his second ever ride on his racebike at Catalunya at this test, after just one short previous outing that was combined with a video shoot, in January. He likes the circuit layout and challenge, as you may expect for a track that has hosted multiple MotoGP races since its first ever in 1992.
Finding increased front traction on day one of the tests, which were held in hot conditions, Rea said of the 4.627km long circuit, “My favourite part is turn five, where you go down the hill, then left and up the hill.
“It is an unbelievable feeling you get when you nail it. It is so nice. It is close to being one of my favourite sections of any circuit in the world. You are kind of braking on the camber, then it goes level, off camber and then up the hill.
It is quite challenging and the bike behaves quite differently from lap one to 21, with the full fuel load and grip tyres, then when the grip drops and the fuel is empty, it is completely different getting in there.”
Rea, who was second fastest overall on day one of the Catalunya test, has recently signed a ‘multi-year’ deal with Kawasaki and he was asked if that means he would end his career with Kawasaki (he is currently 33 years old). He said in reply, “It is very hard to say that. I used to feel that I would be retired by now. But I am really enjoying riding and I feel that as long as I do that, and keep working in the same way… Of course my future is signed for the next years with Kawasaki but who knows?
“Racing changes year-by-year. I decide to stop sooner rather than later, but right now I am really motivated and feel good to continue as long as possible. I hope it is with Kawasaki, because it would be a nice story to finish where I earned my first world championship.
“Who knows? In racing riders don’t tend to always pick the opportunity. You have to find what’s on the table and I am very lucky here to find a great home and a great opportunity to try and win more races and ultimately try and win more championships.”