Kawasaki riders Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea will both head to Australia in confident mood after their performance in testing at Jerez. The British pair ended the two-day test in second and third respectively, trailing the Ducati of Davide Giugliano, but Sykes is encouraged by the performance of his ZX-10R and feels the team are well set for the final pre-season test on February 16.
“It has been a successful two days of testing and we have worked through a lot of variables, coming much closer to a base setting for the bike. In general I am very happy. We found more of our potential with the race tyre and the qualifying tyre and just did one final lap on each to understand the work we had done. That confirmed that we are headed in the right direction. The two last laps I did were quite relaxed, not expecting too much, and I saw some riders using more than one qualifying tyre – maybe even three. We are going to Phillip Island quite happy that we are focused on where we need to be and hopefully we will be fine-tuning in the glorious sunshine. It was important to have these two days of consistent weather and we did a lot of laps. The weather gave us a good stable test.”
After setting the pace on day one, Rea was fractionally slower than his new teammate in third by the end of day two but the Ulsterman isn’t concerned by the outright lap times, and feels the Kawasaki is working as well as he had hoped.
“It was a good test and more so because we got dry track time. We were able to evaluate lots of things. I tried quite a lot of geometries and changing the balance of the bike quite a lot. We never found a big difference in lap time, even when we were radically changing the bike. That proves to us that the bike is working in quite a big window. We found a big step forward with the engine management and electronics on the afternoon of the second day and I was able to improve my lap time quite a bit. That filled me full of joy and confidence. I was able to do a race simulation at this test and I understood how the bike behaves when the tyre drops. I think we have the right tools in the garage to keep working and be in good shape when the lights go out at Phillip Island. At the end of the day we tried a qualifying tyre and it works well on this bike. It has been a busy and positive test.”