Jonathan Rea is chasing further improvements with his Kawasaki ZX-10R despite setting the fastest time on Friday at Buriram. The reigning champion edged out team-mate Tom Sykes with the top eight covered by just a quarter of a second and later admitted that he wasn’t as fast as he had hoped in race trim.
Speaking after Friday’s three practice sessions in Thailand, Rea explained that his current ZX-10R is drastically different following the winter rule changes and he is still searching for the ideal set-up.
“It feels good and the times are so close. Today I just worked through some set-up changes, arriving step-by-step at a good pace. In the last session today, which was held at the same time of day as the races will be, we decided to do a race simulation. I was very constant, not really fast, but constant to the end. We need to find a little bit more I think, for tomorrow. I tried to ride the bike like I did last year but with the final gearing, gearbox and rpm for this season, it is a very different bike. This morning I had to readjust my riding style so in the last two sessions we made some inroads and I felt a lot better. I have the information from the race simulation now, and it is good information.”
By contrast, Sykes was full of confidence ahead of Saturday’s opening race and doesn’t expect tyre wear to be the same issue it was in Phillip Island.
“We set a fast lap time and I am happy enough, even through the confusion of a cancelled lap. We had to use a new set of tyres after that, which was not in our plan of attack, but we still made a faster lap. But aside from that, the bike is really consistent and we have continued on from Phillip Island. We are definitely prepared for the first race tomorrow. The chassis is working well. I hope tomorrow we can find a little bit extra anyway. Even in the hot conditions this afternoon, in both afternoon sessions, I really had a good feeling and feedback from the bike, even when the tyre drops. I am feeling really confident and optimistic for tomorrow.”