Vermeulen And Sykes Join Their Rivals At First Official Test Sessions

January 25, 2010

Chris Vermeulen and Tom Sykes had a chance to ride their Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R machines alongside many of their rivals during the first official tests of 2010, at Portimao, between 22 and 24 January.

The three day test was often affected by adverse weather conditions, with the first day proving dry and sunny, then the second one was wet to start and the track never quite dried out. The final day eventually offered a dry track surface, but the early sessions had been still damp from the previous day's rains.

With some of the team's testing plans interrupted by the constant changes in track grip, both Chris and Tom still got a chance to try out their latest Showa suspension developments, and felt an improvement.

In terms of lap times Chris set a best of 1'44.108 on the final day, with Tom just behind on a 1'44.365.

These times put them 14th and 15th respectively in the final rankings, with Jonathan Rea fastest, on a 1'42.270.

There will be one more major pre-season test for all the top riders in WSB, at Phillip Island on 21 and 22 February, shortly before the first round in Chris's native Australia, on 28 February.

In Portimao the final calendar was announced for 2010, and Silverstone will now replace Donington as the British venue of WSB and WSS, on August 1.

Chris Vermeulen "It went quite good but we were a bit unlucky with the weather. It is great to have learned the track before we come back here to race. We have different issues, some of the same issues, but we are definitely improving the bike. It is moving forward in the right direction. To be honest I did my best time on the standard, hard race tire. At the end we had a small technical problem so we could not use the soft race/qualifying tire. I hoped to be closer to the front than the gap we have now, but I think it is realistically more like one second. I think we will get there."

Tom Sykes: "My shoulder injury was feeling bad after day one but the guys at the Clinica mobile did a good job and that has made it much better ever since then. Obviously we did a lot of work on the bike to get to the bottom of a few things. On our latest suspension there are areas where we have improved and generally there is a better feeling of what's happening with the combination of tarmac, tires and suspension. The feeling at the handlebars is definitely better overall, giving more direct feedback. We have progressed, but we still have some work to do. I am sure we can bring what we need to Phillip Island."