KRT Riders Finish European Winter Tests In Strong Form
February 8, 2016
Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes completed the final European test of their pre-season preparations at Motorland Aragon today, finding further improvements in the set-up of the new Ninja ZX-10R as the first round of the 2016 season looms on the horizon.
High winds prevented any action form the official KRT pairing on day one but they made the most of their window of opportunity today to finalise their personal choices of machine set-up - and compare the most recent data collected at their previous test at Jerez de la Frontera last week.
The team staff used the first day at Motorland to build the final spec of 2016 WorldSBK racing machinery; using materials freshly arrived from KHI in Japan. Tom and Jonathan started on track at midday on day two after the track had warmed-up somewhat.
Sykes was pleased to be at the same best pace he recorded in the 2015 race weekend, after finding improvements from the recent Jerez test sessions. Despite a bout of illness, reigning champion Rea was still on strong form as he finalised settings to his engine’s overall character and fine-tuned his suspension.
Other Kawasaki teams were present at Motorland, with optimism high for all at the prospects for not only the WorldSBK riders, but also the Superstock 1000FIM Cup competitors, who will be running the new Ninja ZX-10R machine in close to standard specification.
The European winter test schedule is now complete but here will be an official two-day test for all WorldSBK runners prior to the opening race weekend of the year in Australia. The first day of testing will be Monday 22 February, at the classic Phillip Island circuit.
Tom Sykes stated: “We had a good test, short but very productive. I am happy to have finished the European winter testing on a great level and we are working really nicely. I have been speaking with some of the other Kawasaki riders and they are really happy on the new bike, saying that it is very easy to ride. We focused on some fundamental things and not on performance, which was good. It worked out to be quite productive at the end. We had to do a couple of things for Pirelli, for their information, and I am really happy how things went.”
Jonathan Rea stated: “Today we tried out different spec front forks and rear shocks and we changed the engine character a little bit. The information we gained we can look at over the next week to make sure we arrive at Phillip Island in good shape. We will have two good days on track in Phillip Island, which gives us more time before the races start. I am excited to go there because I have good memories from last year - but it also feels like home. I am just looking forward to putting everything together and having a proper race weekend. That is what we are all working toward so it is an exciting time right now.”
Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes’ Crew Chief, stated: “We continued with the bike we used in Jerez and we improved a some small items, which will also be very useful for Phillip Island. We made some steps on the chassis set-up and the fine-tuning worked out. We had a good feeling from the bike right away at Motorland and Tom set some good lap times, which was good in these cooler conditions. We are all ready for Australia now and we are confident to go to the first round.”
Pere Riba, Jonathan Rea’s Crew Chief, stated: “The test was positive. We tried two items that we really wanted to test. We collected some new information and we can put that in our pockets and got to PI. We tried some new fork set-ups just to check them and now we are preparing the bike for round one. We are looking forward to going to Phillip Island.”