Six-time WSBK champion Jonathan Rea has been around the block. Over his 15-year Superbike World Championship career, the Kawasaki rider has participated in his fair share of pre-season tests. Entering the 2023 season, Rea is hungrier than ever, aiming to reclaim the crown that’s eluded him during the previous two seasons.
Still, the seasoned vet embraces the testing atmosphere, utilizing the two-day track session not only to shakedown his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR but also to rekindle the team comradery that helped bolster him to six titles. To give his fans a peek at the inner workings of the Kawasaki Racing Team, number 65 vlogged the final Jerez WSBK test of the 2023 season.
Held at Spain’s Circuito de Jerez on January 25-26, 2023, the testing sessions featured Rea’s Kawasaki Racing Team alongside Yamaha, Ducati, and BMW squads. While the Northern Irish racer understands the importance of fine-tuning his ZX-10RR prior to the season, his easy-going demeanor is a far departure from the intensity of race weekends.
From showing off his Winter Test Alpinestars leathers to his Aldo Drudi-designed Arai helmet to the ZX-10RR's special livery, Rea remains in high spirits. Even when delivering feedback to his team and consulting the leaderboard, he maintains a relaxed disposition.
That will all change come the season opener at Australia’s Philip Island on February 24-26, 2023. Last year, Rea, former WSBK champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, and current titleholder Álvaro Bautista squared off in a season-long battle for the ages. While the three rivals largely respected one another, the drama ratcheted up when Rea forced Bautista to crash in Race Two at Magny-Cours (France).
Based on the fact that Razgatlıoğlu, Rea, and Bautista topped the timesheets at Jerez (respectively), it seems like we can anticipate a similar three-way fight in 2023. The Kawasaki man may be all smiles during the pre-season, but we can’t wait to see JR65’s vlogs when the gloves come off later this year.
Sources: Motorcycle Sports, WSBK