The start of the championship still looks to be something of a mirage for Superbike teams, but March is still an important month in terms of testing. Kawasaki will kick things off, on Thursday and Friday, with a two-day test at Portimao. The Portuguese test has been confirmed despite the fact that Alex Lowes is unable to attend, still recovering from the shoulder injury he sustained while training last month. Rea will be joined on track by Isaac Vinales, team Orelac’s entry for 2021.

Rea will be the only Provec representative in attendance then, and he is keen to get to grips with the new aspects of the ZX-10RR, also considering the limited track time he’s had so far due to bad weather at recent tests. “I’m excited to ride again - confirms Rea – especially during these strange times. At recent tests, we have already tested some new ideas with power characteristics from the engine although the weather conditions were not 100%”.

Johnny outlines the path to follow as he and the team prepare for the season-opener, set to take place on 9 May at the Estoril circuit in Portugal. “The main thing we have to do at this test is confirm things on the engine side and then fix our gearbox ratios. We aim to keep building speed and keep building confidence”.

Lowes: “I’m working to return as soon as possible”

Alex Lowes will not attend the test, and so his next outing with the latest Akashi creation will have to wait. “I am working hard on my recovery with the doctors in Barcelona so that I can join them at the track as soon as possible. Of course, I cannot wait to ride my bike again”.

Many have asked whether it is worth testing with only one of the team’s two riders on track, but Guim Roda is clear on this point, underlining the difficulties involved in planning test sessions at this tricky time.

“We think this test is a very important one and it is not easy to organise – comments Roda - We planned it two months ago and it was already part of our development programme. We think it is very important to understand the improvements in different tracks, to make good conclusions and not get confused. All the efforts logistically, in human terms and economically, mean it is a good investment. We hope the weather respects us this time, and that Alex can return soon. It is a shame that Alex cannot do this test but he is not 100% to push on the bike, so we preferred to give him a little bit of time to recover.”

Translated by Heather Watson

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