The next step in the evolution of the Kawasaki Racing Team’s 2011 machine took place at high speed in Valencia this week, with impressive times being set by Tom Sykes and Katsuaki Fujiwara.
The Spanish track offered good conditions for the test, but high afternoon temperatures made it hard – if ultimately rewarding – work. Despite the heat and busy schedule the new Ninja ZX-10R machinery ran faultlessly throughout.
Fujiwara’s test bike had only recently arrived from KHI in Japan, to give the team two machines to work with from now on.
On the second day lap times fell to the mid 1:34s on fresh race tyres, with the team lapping in the mid-1:35s after race simulations were carried out.
“A very positive test for us overall. It is very early days but I think we have already achieved quite a lot,” Sykes commented. “Knowing where we are at now, and where we can eventually arrive at, there is still big potential there. So to be where we are now, in such good shape, is an extremely nice starting point.”
Effective new geometry and Showa suspension settings were found in what was only the second European test for the new bike, which is still very much at the start of its final development program.
“With the delivery of our second 2011 spec Ninja ZX-10R at Valencia we were able to plan a very full programme for the two days of testing,” team manager Paul Risbridger said.
“On the back of a great result in Nürburgring, our baseline runs with the 2010 racebike at Valencia showed immediately the progress we have made with the current Ninja but by the end of the first day we felt we had already made real progress on the new 2011 bike.
“The team tested several geometry options and worked on the general chassis balance on what was our 2010 nominated test circuit. By mid-morning on day two we had achieved our target 1:34 second lap. The speed and consistency of the all new Ninja ZX-10R has given the team a real buzz, and whilst we have a lot of work ahead of us during the winter we feel we are currently right on schedule in our preparations.”
The next test will be the first public one for the new Ninja ZX-10R, to be held at Magny-Cours, after the final race of the current season.