Following their demise from MotoGP and disastrous season in World Superbikes, Kawasaki could afford themselves some respite during the first Supersport test of the season after Joan Lascorz claimed the quickest time of the weekend.
Having switched their backing from Gil Motorsport to the new Provec Motocard.com outfit over the winter, star signing Lascorz set about transforming their dubious run of form in recent years by stunning the regulars in Portugal.
Quickest on two of the three days, Lascorz was credited with the fastest time of the test, raising hopes that all five manufacturers will be capable of race wins in 2009.
Furthermore, 23-year-old Lascorz, who scored a win at Valencia on the way to fifth in the overall standings in 2008, is confident the team is already on a par with Ten Kate Honda before adding there is still some way to go before the ZX-6R reaches its full potential.
“Obviously the bike is competitive, even if we still have work to do to get the set-up 100%. I think we have a good chance because [Kenan] Sofuoglu, for example, knows his bike very well and his team very well.
“It is all-new for us, but we are at more or less the same level. By working in better directions we can be even more competitive. We will be concentrating on the suspension at our Calafat tests but we have been able to make good laps here and we have more to come.”
Team-mate Katsuaki Fujiwara, meanwhile, didn't fare quite as well and was down in 17th position by the end of the test. Nonetheless, the second fastest time during Sunday's wet morning session gives him optimism for the new season too.
“I spent a lot of time at this test working with the engineers to try out a lot of different settings and parts. I did that more than think about lap times. We made very good progress, on both engine and chassis settings, and I think we are in a good place. We are ready to take on the championship next month in Australia. I think the bike is already at a very good level, in many areas.”