Alex Lowes has offered up a sincere tribute to outgoing Kawasaki Racing team-mate Jonathan Rea as the factory outfit gears up for the final round of the 2023 WorldSBK season at Jerez.
After nine seasons, this weekend’s Spanish finale will mark Rea’s swansong with the Kawasaki Racing Team to bring an end to a tenure that has yielded six WorldSBK titles and 104 race wins.
With Lowes having raced alongside the Ulsterman has his team-mate for four of the most recent campaigns, the 2013 BSB Champion says he will be sad to see Rea exit the team in favour of joining one of the Englishman’s former teams, Pata Yamaha.
“The sad part of the weekend is that it will be Jonathan’s last ride with Kawasaki. I has been a pleasure to share the garage with him for the four years I have been at Kawasaki. We all know how good a rider he is, and the stats speak for themselves.
“He has been the best of certainly my generation in WorldSBK, and one of the best ever. But what has been almost better than that is off the bike and how much of a good bloke he is. I knew him a little bit before he was a team-mate but since spending a lot of time with him, in the garage, at events, away from the track, I would say that we have become friends.
“He has certainly made the four years more enjoyable for me. A great rider, an even better bloke and honestly I will miss not being on the other side of the garage to him. All the best to him in his last round with Kawasaki and well done to them for all they achieved together.
“Hopefully we can share the podium this weekend and finish our KRT relationship as team-mates in style.”
Though injuries have conspired to hamper Lowes’ 2023 WorldSBK season, he heads to Jerez primed for a big battle to secure eighth in the overall standings. As it stands, only four points covers six riders between eighth and 13th.
“I am feeling good, looking forward to the race and I cannot wait to get down there, to be honest. I feel like this may be more of a first ‘race’ of winter testing and then next season for me, rather than the last race of the year.
“Since the summer break I have basically been injured for a couple of months. I have had a nice few weekends off, working hard and training hard.
“I am looking forward to finishing the year strongly in Jerez. It is a track that everybody knows well, and that the Kawasaki has gone well at in the past.”