Parkes: I'm surprised to be up there.

Broc Parkes forged his way back onto the World Superbike scene with a solid mid-field performance for Kawasaki during pre-season testing in Portugal.

Parkes, who has not raced in the top flight since 2002, was in Portimao making his debut for the Kawasaki team, who in turn were making their first official appearance under the watchful eye of Paul Bird Motorsport.

With Kawasaki under pressure to succeed in 2009 after a disappointing season last year, Parkes produced a confident showing to claim the 15th best lap over the course of the three days.

Fulfilling his target of being inside the top twenty, Parkes was satisfied with the team's performance, pointing out that he finished ahead of more experienced competition, including Max Biaggi and Ruben Xaus.

“When we came here we didn't really know what expectations we should have. We were always around 14th to 15th and we ended up 15th. We tried a lot of things in these tests but now we need to go back to the workshop and fine tune a lot of stuff. For us this was sort of a shakedown test and it all went pretty well.

“There are a lot of guys with more experience behind us and we were surprised to be quite far up there a few times. I hoped we would be between tenth and 18th so we are in the middle of that, I suppose.

“The weather didn't help and we lost a lot of track time but it was a good all round effort. We have a test in Australia before the first race and we will have even more new things to try because of what we learned from here.”

Team-mate Makoto Tamada didn't fare quite so well, the Japanese rider suffering with food poisoning. Eventually ending the weekend with the 21st best time out of 27 riders, Tamada was nonetheless encouraged by the new team set-up.

“We have been getting better all the way through. It's a good team and we worked well, and on many things. Our suspension settings and electronics in particular, and we did a lot of testing with the KHI machine.

“The performance is good. I am still not 100 per cent fit after suffering food poisoning during this test, so I have had nothing to eat for a couple of days. That made me very tired today.”

Related Pictures

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Broc Parkes in action at the first World Superbike test of the 2009 season at Portimao.
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