Crash.Net WSBK News
Sykes fastest in Spain, says Kawasaki
24 January 2013
Kawasaki claims Tom Sykes posted the fastest lap during the two-day World Superbike shakedown at Jerez, though neither Sykes' nor teammate Loris Baz's ZX10R machines were fitted with transponders.
An official press statement issued by Kawasaki says Sykes – last year's championship runner-up – lapped the Spanish circuit in a best time of 1m 40.5s on a qualifying tyre compared to Goldbet BMW's Marco Melandri, who topped the unofficial times in 1m 40.785s.
The British rider later said he was “very happy” at the conclusion of the test, which ended in dry but cool conditions on Tuesday after rain on Monday.
“We have to be very happy after this test. Yesterday we had some wet track time and for some people it was maybe not very good but for us it was very valuable,” said Sykes.
“We learned some things yesterday and also today in dry track conditions. Eventually we had decent track conditions and we got up to speed.
“We were able to test very constructively. Both days have been very valuable and I would like to thank the team and Kawasaki because our test schedule has been very good and all the time we have been moving forward. For this I am happy.”
Sykes doesn't regard Jerez as a “strong” circuit for Kawasaki but his pace has filled him with optimism and he is now relishing the final tests at Phillip Island in Australia next month prior to the opening world championship round at the spectacular circuit on February 24.
“This circuit is quite special and for sure it is not our strong point but looking at what is on paper we are not in a bad situation,” he said.
“On a race tyre we did a long run and was able to set a 1m 41.7s time after 14 laps with this tyre option.
“Overall I am happy to have achieved what we have achieved and am looking forward to the next test at Phillip Island.”
Sykes teammate, Loris Baz, crashed midway through the final day of the test on Tuesday and his ZX10R had to be rebuilt.
However, the young French rider set times 'that would place him in the top six of many of the riders on show' – according to Kawasaki – and Baz feels he has taken a “big step forward”.
“It was a good test even if we missed two or three hours today after a fall,” he said.
“It was a shame because we had some more things to try but we still made a big step forward and I am happy with what we found.
“I had a good feeling with the race tyre and also the qualifying tyre. I could not do a good time with a soft race tyre at the end because I did three laps on it and each time I found some other rider in front of me.
“I am sure I could have made a good time and I am not so far from Tom,” he added.
"Also, using a qualifying tyre it was the first time I was able to make a big improvement so I am happy with that because with only three riders on each starting row in 2013, Superpole qualifying is going to be very important.”