KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam are now making preparations to compete in the 11th round of the season, at the Magny Cours Circuit in France, this coming weekend. The 4.411km long racetrack will host the final European-based round of the 2019 season before the championship finishes off in Argentina and Qatar in October.
At the previous round in Portimao, which re-started the entire championship campaign after its long summer break, Rea scored two race wins to extend his championship lead. Four-times world champion Rea has his first arithmetical chance to make it five championships in a row at Magny Cours, which was the decisive scene of his 2018 championship win.
Talk of the championship win is premature for Rea and all inside the KRT tent, however, as they will continue to aim to win each race and not be distracted by any other factors. In all Rea has scored five wins at Magny Cours over his career, having scored total of nine podiums at a circuit of many contrasts in layout.
Although Haslam has not raced at Magny Cours since 2015 he has happy memories of the French track too, having scored three podiums there. Leon’s ideal result this weekend would be his first win in Kawasaki colours, after securing six podium finishes in his WorldSBK comeback season.
In the championship standings Jonathan has 490 points and a lead of 91 over Alvaro Bautista. Leon has scored 229 points and is in overall fifth place, with a very realistic ambition of finishing third by season’s end.
The now-familiar 2019 season schedule will feature Superpole and then a full distance Race One on Saturday 27th September, with the ten-lap Tissot-Superpole ‘sprint’ race on Sunday morning, followed by a full distance Race Two. Track action gets underway on Friday 26th with two Free Practice sessions for the WorldSBK riders.
Jonathan Rea: “It is very exciting to go to Magny Cours because it feels like the previous round in Portugal was a long time ago. I am ready to get back on the bike. Last weekend was the wedding of my crew chief Pere Riba, so we were all together as a team and we had a really good time together. Now we turn our attentions to Magny Cours. It is a circuit that requires really good stability on the brakes and also a bike set-up that changes direction well. I feel that we are prepared as it is will play to the strengths of the Ninja ZX-10RR in some areas and in some areas we need to find a set-up compromise. We need to keep one eye on the weather and one eye on performance. At Magny Cours you never really know what weather cards you are going to get dealt. In any case I am ready to get stuck in.”
Leon Haslam: “It has been a few years since I was in Magny Cours but I have some good memories of being there and I’ve had some podiums there. Always, the temperature and weather is key and I remember getting my last podium there in the rain. I think I was on pole at Magny Cours in 2014 as well, so I am looking forward to it. It is a track with a few big straights. There are a few areas I may struggle with in the dry but going into it knowing those areas hopefully we can rectify that rather than going into it blind. I am looking forward to this race weekend and it is the last European round of this year. I am still aiming for third in the championship so I hope we can come away with some solid podiums.”