Kawasaki is continuing its preparations for the 2011 World Superbike Championship by putting the new ZX-10R through its paces at Valencia.
Fresh from the bike's official unveiling at the Nurburgring, factory Superbike rider Tom Sykes and Supersport competitor Katsuaki Fujiwara were on hand to give the Ninja a two-day shakedown at the Spanish circuit.
Despite high temperatures, Kawasaki were pleased with the progress made, the manufacturer revealing the bike was getting its lap times down to mid 1min 34s by the end of the test, albeit on fresh tyres.
To put into perspective, Sykes qualified 17th on the grid at the WSBK event at Valencia earlier this season with a lap of 1min 34.894secs.
With Kawasaki describing the test as still 'at the start of the final development programme', Sykes revealed his delight at sampling the new bike, stating that it has 'big potential'.
“A very positive test for us overall. It is very early days but I think we have already achieved quite a lot. Knowing where we are at now, and where we can eventually arrive at, there is still big potential there. So to be where we are now, in such good shape, is an extremely nice starting point.”
Kawasaki also revealed the bike will be stacked up against its rivals during the post-season test at Magny-Cours in just over two weeks time.
“With the delivery of our second 2011 spec Ninja ZX-10R at Valencia we were able to plan a very full programme for the two days of testing,” added team manager Paul Risbridger. “On the back of a great result in Nürburgring, our baseline runs with the 2010 race bike at Valencia showed immediately the progress we have made with the current Ninja but by the end of the first day we felt we had already made real progress on the new 2011 bike.
“The team tested several geometry options and worked on the general chassis balance on what was our 2010 nominated test circuit. By mid-morning on day two we had achieved our target 1'34 second lap.
“The speed and consistency of the all new Ninja ZX-10R has given the team a real buzz, and whilst we have a lot of work ahead of us during the winter we feel we are currently right on schedule in our preparations.”