JG Speedfit Kawasaki duo James Ellison and Peter Hickman both say they're impressed by their initial outings with the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R as the team begins the process of turning the new machine from a stock bike into a British Superbike-winning package.
The GBmoto Racing prepared JG Speedfit Kawasaki team took receipt of the 2016 model a few days before its first two-day test in Aragon before heading over to Jerez for another two days. The team focused on basic set-up alongside working on the chassis settings with the factory Showa suspension units. With a comfortable foundation Ellison and Hickman moved on to testing swingarms and braking components.
Throughout the two Spanish tests both riders used a stock Kawasaki engine but were still able to light up the timesheets, with Ellison producing a lap which matched the top five race lap times when the World Superbike squads visited Jerez in September, and the Cumbrian rider was thrilled with the early progress completed.
“The new ZX-10R really does have huge potential,” Ellison said. “The team only got them the week before we went to Aragon but it already feels really good. We've spent a lot of the time trying setting with the new factory Showa suspension, and I feel really good with my first impressions.
“My best time at Jerez would have been good enough for the fifth fastest lap in the World Superbike race, so to do that after only a few days and with a standard engine is really impressive. The team know what they're doing and I'm really excited to try the full machine in January.”
Ellison's new team-mate Hickman had a whirlwind two weeks because in between the two tests in Spain he jetted to East Asia and claimed an impressive maiden victory at the Macau Grand Prix.
Despite the tiring but successful couple of weeks, Hickman also left the winter tests satisfied with what the team has achieved and is optimistic the bike can be taken up a level with the data collected.
“I'd never been to Aragon before, so with a new track as well as an all-new machine it was big learning curve,” Hickman explained. “Although I've only ever instructed there and have never tried to go fast, I was a lot more comfortable at Jerez. We were on the stock engine, so were working through various chassis and suspension set ups but my first impressions are really positive.
“We never tried to go for a flying lap, so to get the time we did is really encouraging – particularly after being a little jetlagged with all the travelling. The team now know the direction they want to go in and I can't wait to get back out on the bike in January.”