Tom Sykes has sounded an ominous warning for Kawasaki’s World Superbike rivals, stating there are still areas to improve the new ZX-10R despite setting the pace at the Jerez test. The 2013 champion led the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies at a circuit he admits is far from his favourite and is excited at the rate of development with the new machine.
“All smiles round here because basically we have changed a lot of settings, exploring more parameters with the new bike. We have a good opportunity to explore many things. All credit to Marcel and Danilo and all the mechanics because they are working overtime and I am just riding the bike. It is confirmation of what we have developed in previous years that we have done a good job because this new bike is the ‘baby’ from those years. It is working well for both riders and Kawasaki has done a great job. There are still areas where I want to improve both the bike and me but to come away from both winter tests in Jerez fastest is good, because it is not my strongest circuit. This adds to the excitement and motivation for the coming season on the new Ninja ZX-10R.”
Reigning champion Jonathan Rea was only seventh fastest but he was keen to stress his actual pace was much stronger than his position would suggest.
“It is clear that the new bike has been developed more for another riding style and it asks you to ride in a certain way. So we are still exploring exactly how to extract the best out of the bike and we have changed many things. It was clear that when we arrived here the track grip level was much worse than the last time, so it required a little bit of a different set-up. Our testing philosophy this winter – testing big items and not getting carried away with the set-up – has really made sense here. It was the same track, same part of the world but a different character this time. We had a new fork specification to try and a different engine character. We are just using the tools in the toolbox now and understanding more about the new Ninja ZX-10R. We have been working calmly and methodically and if the starting lights went out at Jerez tomorrow we would not be seventh.”
Kawasaki will complete two more days of testing at Motorland Aragon with the opening round in Australia scheduled for February 27-28.