News 1 Dec 2011

Sykes on lap record pace during Kawasaki's recent Valencia test

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes was fast in testing at Valencia this week.

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes was fast in testing at Valencia this week.

After two winter test sessions in Spain, at Aragon and more recently Valencia, KRT riders Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz enter the enforced winter break in good spirits after posting strong performances.

The three-day Valencia test finished on Wednesday 30th November, just before the new testing ban kicks in for all WSBK teams. Sykes, using race tyres, set a best lap of 1’33.1s, which is a tenth or so faster than the best Superpole lap ever recorded at the former WSBK venue.

“The tests went well and we ended up doing a 1’33.1 lap time on a race tyre,” Sykes said. “We have worked through a lot of different things, we are working well in the garage and I am relaxed. It is no secret that when I’m relaxed I work my best.

“Right now we are on a package that we have not changed so much between the two tests. We have a fairly good base setting that works for race distance and, when we put new tyres in, for a fast lap time as well. I think we have come a long way even since the post-season Portimao test.

“The bike tells me what it is doing quite a lot better than before, and the improved feedback tells me when I am arriving at the limit.”

Overhead conditions on the first day at Valencia started out cloudy but the afternoon and the final two days provided good track conditions, allowing both Sykes and Lascorz to make improvements that saw them set consistently strong lap times, whether on fresh race rubber or nearing the end of a long run.

There were many developments to the race-winning Ninja ZX-10R for both riders to test, including suspension, linkages, electronics, chassis geometry and the latest ride-by-wire system.

With more direct control of the entire KRT Superbike World Championship project once more evident at these tests, there were several Japanese engineers in the pit garages as all the team-members refined their working methods and strategies.

After the test ban is lifted in mid January the team will take to the track once more in Spain, at Almeria, to make further steps down the road toward the start of the new WSBK season. The 14-round/28-race campaign commences at Phillip Island in Australia on 26 February 2012.