The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

23 November 2023

Positive Final 2023 Test For KRT

The last KRT WorldSBK test session of the 2023 calendar year took place at the Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto between 22-23 November, with the 2024 rider line up of Alex Lowes and Axel Bassani lapping in sunny and dry weather conditions each day. Lowes was the fastest WorldSBK rider on show and Bassani fourth quickest.

This final test session before the winter break allowed the riders and team technical staff to work on possible 2024 season items and set-up ideas, in order to finalise the direction of technical development for the official Ninja ZX-10RR during the off-season.

These two days on track were also important because there will be new technical rules and regulations in 2024, covering several areas of potential machine and set-up enhancement.

Alex, who will enter his fifth year as a KRT rider in 2024, completed a total of 150 laps across four days, trying new material and settings while also making performance tests and a long run.  

For Axel, about to take part in his fourth WorldSBK season, 2024 will be his first campaign as an official rider. He has adapted well to his new environment as he continues to concentrate on transitioning from one configuration of machine to another.

Alex’s best lap time of the test was a 1’38.762, which he set on the final day. Axel’s fastest was a 1’39.811, set on a full race set-up on day one, without using a soft ‘Q’ tyre.

Track action for the combined KRT squad will now cease until 2024, when a return to Jerez will take place between 24-25 January. A second Iberian test, at Portimao in Portugal, will be held between 29-30 January. The first race weekend of 2024 will be hosted at Phillip Island in Australia, between 23-25 February.

Alex Lowes, stated: “I am really happy with today. Honestly, I have had so much fun riding the bike. After a tough end to the year, with injuries and not being able to finish the year like I wanted, it has been so positive to have a good test here. Obviously the conditions in the winter in Jerez are good but I did my best ever lap around Jerez on race tyres, and quite a lot of fast laps. This was positive. We also tried a lot of new parts, which was thanks to all the guys and Kawasaki for bringing new stuff to try. The target for January is to put all the pieces together to find the best package for next year. This was a really, really positive test.”

Axel Bassani, stated: “We have just finished two days of testing and we tried a lot of things. We didn’t use an SCQ tyre, so we focused on the set-up of the bike and different things. I am happy and we finished in a good way. We understood a good direction to go during the winter break. Test-by-test I started to feel really good with the bike. It is not easy because it is completely different compared to my previous one, but now I am starting to feel good. I am also happy with the team and the work we did. Now we have some time to rest and then start to think about next year.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “We had two very interesting days. We have all enjoyed working together; Alex, the guys in the team and myself. We have been able to try many things with the bike for next year. I have also studied the way Alex is riding the bike; his needs and preferences. We still need time and this is something we have to build step-by-step, but we confirmed different items. I am very happy with the feedback from Alex. In terms of different test items he was very positive. He has given us very accurate information, which is good. We have had two days on track with very good speed. His times have been his fastest ever in Jerez, not only in lap time but also in consistency. I think Alex is enjoying it and he made 75 laps each day. And even a long run. We were using soft tyres and standard tyres at this test. I think Alex is starting to know us. It seems like we are building and creating a good package and it is an enjoyable moment for us all together.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Axel Bassani, stated: “At this moment we are still building. We know what Axel has done in recent years and at this test he felt more and more comfortable on the bike. On the first day we wanted to make the bike a bit more suitable for him and of course he wanted to get a bit more ‘close’ to the bike. On the second day we went into testing mode and the full day was committed to test items. Axel set his best lap time in full race trim and he did not use any ‘Q’ tyres. For sure it will take a bit more time find the correct set-up between the bike and rider. But in January and February we will have more test days to get ourselves ready for the first round at Phillip Island. We ticked all the items off that we planned to use at this test, and it was very positive overall. Axel is very professional and he is really committed to improving the bike and himself to get ready for Phillip Island. We are all impressed by the way he is working. Axel and everybody is entering the winter break with a big smile on our faces.”