Tom Sykes and Atsushi Watanabe endured a quiet first day of competition ahead of the final Bennetts British Superbike round at Brands Hatch, the Rizla Suzuki pair emerging eighth and 18th.
Sykes is determined to put in a good performance this weekend as he embarks on his final outing with the team before he heads to the World Superbike Championship next season. Furthermore, he is in the midst of a battle with Leon Haslam for the runners-up spot knowing one mistake could be enough to make all the difference.
As such, Sykes has spent a day concentrating on the set-up of the bike using data garnered from his wild-card WSBK outing back in August.
“It's been a very steady day on track for us but we are just laying the ground work,” said team manager Jack Valentine. “The riders need to find a comfortable setup before they can really push it. Tom has been working on setup based on the data gained during his Brands Hatch World Superbike outing.
“Once the team find the chassis balance he requires he will have a very strong package. Traffic was also a problem as he struggled to get a clear lap in on this very short circuit.”
Joining Sykes in with Rizla Suzuki for the final time this weekend, Watanabe could only manage 18th fastest, although he was as low as 20th in the morning session too.
“Atsu has also spent today progressing through a number of changes to his Rizla Suzuki. His technicians took a change in direction which saw a small improvement so further changes tomorrow will take us another step up the time sheets. I think both riders will pull it out of the bag for qualifying as they have put in a lot of hard work today.”