Rea “very frustrated” at WSBK rev limit imposed on Kawasaki

Reigning six-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea says Kawasaki’s rev limit of 14600rpm imposed on it for the start of the 2021 season is “very frustrating”.

WSBK has operated a rev limit system since 2018 as part of a performance balancing push to keep the grid as competitive as possible, with those limits re-judged every three rounds based on a performance algorithm which comprises numerous criteria.

Should a manufacturer be deemed to be too competitive by the algorithm, it can lose 250rpm, or it can gain 250rpm if its performance is lacklustre.

Kawasaki spent the winter working the gearing on its new ZX-10RR to a rev limit of 15100rpm but must start the 2021 season with a limit of 14600rpm.

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In the official rev limit confirmation document circulated ahead of this weekend’s Aragon round, a statement confirming the Kawasaki decision read: “The 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10RR engine received only a limited amount of new component.

“Therefore, the CTI have decided that it has a rev limit based on the performance balancing algorithm following the 2020 season.”

But Rea – who was fifth fastest after Friday’s practice sessions at Aragon – disputes the claims Kawasaki’s engine isn’t sufficiently new.

“I mean, already our bike was making more power than last year anyway because of the components we have in the engine,” Rea said on Friday.

“So, the biggest difference is sometimes we have to use an extra gear.

“For example, here at T3 to T4, Jerez T4 to T5 is very critical to try to keep the same gear.

“But now we have to use some extra shifts per lap, and it feels – it’s not slower, because we can see it on data – but it feels because of the noise like less power.

“We have to manipulate the gearing a little bit, so very frustrated because this was a decision made last Friday, so very frustrated is the word.

“But this is life, we have to accept this and move on.

“It’s frustrating because of the late delivery of the news, but it’s like we had last year, it’s the same rpm but we have more power because the engine is not the same engine, it’s a new engine with different components inside, pistons, some other moving parts are different.

“So, what is a new engine? So, does this mean for Superbike racing now a manufacturer has to spend millions to develop a completely new generation engine to get these concessions?

“It’s not in the spirit of Superbike racing.”

Redding: SCX tyre “unfair”

Last year’s WSBK title runner-up Scott Redding has once again blasted Pirelli’s SCX Sprint race tyre as “unfair”, as a number of lighter riders will be able to use it in full-length races at Aragon.

The Ducati rider – seventh at Aragon on Friday – is one of the heaviest riders in the series and was unable to use the SCX tyre in full races last year, while current team-mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi used it to take a dominant maiden win at the Teruel round in 2020.

“The biggest thing we have here is the SCX tyre,” Redding said.

“I know a handful of guys are going to use the tyre, and I know a handful of tyres want to use the tyre but it’s probably not going to work.

“So, for championship situation, you’ve got to think already now and the problem is it could already be quite costly.

“So, I saw some guys trying, I was trying it myself. It just comes down to will you last the last five laps?

“If yes, it’s great. If no, you have a big problem. And it’s a bit of a gamble and it’s unfair for me, I stick by my word.”

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