Current World Superbike champ Jonathan Rea started his racing career as a Kawasaki schoolboy motocross rider and his passion for off-road riding continues to this day with a KX450F in his garage as well as a trick Supermoto Kawasaki. What many people would never guess is that KRT motocross rider, Clement Desalle has an equal passion for tarmac circuits and especially Superbike racing. Already familiar with riding on tarmac circuit, the overall winner of this year’s Assen MXGP, Desalle made his desire to ride a ZX-10R on track an open secret.
So what better venue than the dramatic and impressive Motorland Circuit in Aragon, Spain for Jonathan Rea and Clément Desalle to experience a unique “KRT Rider X Over” with Rea given a chance to ride a genuine KRT factory KX450F and Desalle to pilot not just a ZX-10R but Rea’s actual SBK Championship winning machine.
“I had a supersport machine before and I enjoyed some track days in the closed season”, said Desalle. “When the KRT team manager said there was this possibility to have a Rider X Over I was really excited. I know Jonathan is good at motocross but I had no idea if I could ride a Superbike.”
For Rea it was a slightly nervous start to the event as he briefed Clément on what to expect from the KRT Ninja ZX-10R. “He’s a racer at the end of the day so I respect his skill level and approach. In reality I had nothing to worry about, he was lapping at about the same speed as the journalists we invited to ride the bike in the morning and actually braking later into turn one than I normally do! We had a few laps together and his commitment is total and he achieved some impressive lean angles when he was cornering,” he said.
As Clément ’s time on the 5.3km track came to an end the pair of KRT riders made their way to the Motorland MX track which had been graded and freshly watered. Rea made some small adjustments to the clutch lever plus rear brake pedal position of the KX450F and they were away riding like long time team mates.
“Jonathan is at a good level, I can see he has a real talent for motocross”, commented Desalle. “The factory KX450F is quite a demanding ride and Jonathan made the transition really easily.”
For Rea the chance to ride with Clément was unmissable and held back some of the jet-lag he was experiencing following a lightening visit to the Kawasaki Motors Corporation 50th Anniversary a few days before.
“To ride my Superbike and then a KRT factory motocross machine alongside Clément in the same day is just a dream. It could not have gone better and perhaps we will surprise a few people who watch the video.”