First Winter Test A Success For KRT And Sykes

October 30, 2015

Tom Sykes and the official Kawasaki Racing Team completed the first winter test in readiness for the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship campaign, with positive days of progress and evaluation at Motorland Aragon finishing up today, 29th October. The bulk of the testing was completed towards the end of the three days and Sykes set 72 laps on the final day.

With significant numbers of 2016 season parts being tested on the Ninja ZX-10R at this, the first of many winter tests, the team and KHI now expect to make a greater transition to the full 2016-spec machine at the next tests at Jerez de La Frontera, next week. They will also re-confirm the parts and settings that proved so positive at Motorland.

There were significant improvements in the braking stability and engine performance of the WorldSBK spec race machine around Motorland, even in this first full track test, as lone tester Tom Sykes and his crew worked through almost their entire schedule of work.

On a clear final day, after occasional wet conditions earlier in the tests, Sykes set a best lap time of 1’50.6, a mark which he matched with some consistency throughout. Over the whole test Sykes did 139 laps of the long 5.077km circuit in the north of Spain.

The team now heads right across Spain to test at the Andalusia circuit of Jerez de La Frontera, between 3 and 4 November - this time with new World Champion Jonathan Rea (KRT) joining in after the recent birth of his second child meant he missed the first test at Motorland Aragon.

Tom Sykes stated: “We are heading back in a good direction to something we know. We ironed out some teething problems and got a general feel for things on the opening days and then today, when the sun was out from start to finish, we got our heads down and worked through a whole book of tricks. The team worked overtime today - parts in, parts out – all day. They all worked really efficiently and kept us on track for the maximum time possible. The overall performance of the Ninja ZX-10R at these tests is something that excites me. Overall the lap times were really consistent. The feeling was easier to achieve than I have been used to. It is still early days but this has definitely been a good start to our winter test programme.”

Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes’ Crew Chief, stated: “Today the weather was stable and although we could not do all the scheduled tests, we completed the most important points. At 5pm we were happy with the results. After three or four steps we knew the direction to go in for the start in 2016. Those three or four steps have given a very clear direction. Tom pushed in the same way every time he went out on track and we were very happy to see the results. He did more than race distance on one set of tyres and was a faster than the previous pace, so we have to be happy with the result. We will always find some more things to improve but after one full day I believe we have already done around 50% of our winter test schedule. Tom did not do a full time attack but on fresh tyres, on his fourth lap, he did a best of 1’50.6. He did that kind of lap time several times.”

Ichiro Yoda, KRT Senior Engineer, stated: “The final day of the test was made in near perfect weather. We almost completed the schedule at this Motorland test and now we will look to the Jerez test to perform some more function tests. We used a mix of materials here, but mostly 2016 parts. Maybe in Jerez we can concentrate almost completely on 2016 material because we expect some other steps. After this first test it looks like engine performance and acceleration is better than in 2015. Braking stability was better also.”