James Ellison says he's thrilled with the gains Kawasaki has made with the new ZX-10R but is missing confidence with the rear grip and feeling having switched suspension partners.
The GBmoto Racing-prepared JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad has swapped suspension supplier from Ohlins to Showa to come in line with the factory World Superbike squad which runs Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea. Ellison says because of the electronic regulations differences between the two series the team has needed more time to adapt with the new package.
Ellison, who is delighted with the new bike as a whole, says he's yet to discover a happy setup which he can push with but after team-mate Leon Haslam tested a new Showa part at the official BSB test day at Silverstone is optimistic for a breakthrough at the season opener this weekend.
“I'm not happy with the bike and to be honest I've not really been happy with it all winter,” Ellison said. “We've made steps forward sometimes but nothing has really clicked yet and we've been struggling with some set up issues here. I'm not going to lie I am not happy with it at all and we still have a lot of work to do.
“The rear grip and feeling seems to run wide all the time and we've been struggling to find out why. We think we've found a big direction after Leon tried something for the team as we only had one piece [at the Silverstone test]. We tried it with Leon to see what he thought of it and it made a big step forward so Peter Hickman and I are having that piece for the race at Silverstone. We'll all have the same stuff so it should get rid of the problems I am having.”
Ellison's optimism has good backing after Haslam topped the timesheet at the first collective BSB test of 2016 last week at the Northamptonshire circuit and he believes once the team gets the bike to gel with the Showa parts it will enable him to unlock the full potential of the bike.
“We've switched suspension this year which is the biggest difference and as we didn't really have any base settings we had to start from scratch,” he explained. “If we had settings from last year it would have been easier to bolt all the new bits in.
“Showa has had fantastic results in the past with a couple of World championships with Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea so we've switched to Showa to share information. However, there are a few things they can use in World Superbikes that we can't so it is about trying to adapt the suspension to our bike. We know it is going to be phenomenal once we get it but right now we haven't got it just right.
“The engine is a lot stronger this year, Kawasaki has done a great job with the engine so it is definitely faster. The whole bike and chassis is a lot more nimble so it is just this feeling we are trying to get rid of. We are not talking a massive amount of time it is just a feeling thing and when we get it right I can start pushing.”