First Front Row Start For New Ninja ZX-10R At Second Round

March 26, 2011

Tom Sykes gave the all-new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R its first front row start in WSBK racing at Tom’s home round of Donington, after setting the third best lap time in Superpole three.

Sykes was particularly pleased to have gone so quickly when using a race tyre in Superpole, as he had used up his two allotted qualifying tyres in the first two Superpole sessions. He had no choice but to select a race compound as he went for a front row slot and built his speed up to take a 1’28.556 for the Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike squad - and give the home fans something to cheer about on the eve of raceday.

Joan Lascorz was also in the mix in Superpole, but could not use his second qualifying tyre to the best effect and he went 12th fastest overall. He starts Sunday’s two WSBK races from the third row, and hopes to take his first points scores at the recently modified English circuit.

Returnee rider Chris Vermeulen rode for over 30 laps in the first practice and qualifying sessions yesterday and gained many positive insights into his Ninja ZX-10R race machine. Pain from his knee injury, however, meant that he did not ride again today. It was decided he should not race tomorrow but the experience of Friday has filled Chris and the team with the confidence that he can undertake a full weekend of practice and race action at the next round, Assen.

Tom Sykes: “I was a little surprised because for the last session we only had a race tyre to use and it took me until lap four to put in a decent time. Going into Superpole three with no qualifying tyre I was not confident we could get a front row start, but I dug deep when I saw I had one minute remaining. I wanted my last fast lap to count, and it did. A front row start should make tomorrow a little easier. It is all pretty much one line around here in the first laps, from Redgate until the back straight. A front row start is good for us all in the team and a nice landmark for the new bike in only its second race weekend.”

Joan Lascorz: “I improved on my best lap time when I put on the first qualifier and that is what we are aiming for. We used the second qualifier and I was not able to do the same lap time and that is why I could not go into the next Superpole session. I need a bit more understanding of the bike but I am happy, and Tom is showing that the new bike is working pretty well.”

Chris Vermeulen: “It was great to get the chance to ride here and we made the most of it on the first day. My knee is just too sore to ride any more this weekend but I hope to get some more track time in on my Ninja ZX-10R before the Assen round and do a complete weekend there. The new bike feels good and I have been able to start making changes to the handlebar position and so on, so the track time at Donington has been very useful."