2011 World Superbike Championship rookie Joan Lascorz has admitted that he was pleasantly 'surprised' both by the latest developments to his new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and also his own physical condition during the recent weather-afflicted test at Portimão in Portugal.
The Spaniard wound up tenth-quickest overall in the Algarve at the end of last month – his third test on the bike following earlier outings at Almeria and Sepang – just under a second adrift of team-mate Tom Sykes and ahead of former double WSBK Champion James Toseland as well as experienced front-runners Noriyuki Haga and Rubén Xaus.
Following a tremendously successful four-year stint in World Supersport – yielding three race victories, 19 podiums and a trio of top five championship finishes – Lascorz knows that he has an even greater challenge on his hands in 2011, and the injuries he sustained in the horrific opening lap accident at Silverstone last summer when he collided with Eugene Laverty and Roberto Tamburini whilst disputing the lead are not aiding his cause.
However, as he prepares to celebrate his 26th birthday over the weekend of the Phillip Island WSBK curtain-raiser at the end of this month, 'Jumbo' insists he is quickly getting dialled-in to his new machine and reveals that his confidence is building.
“At Portimão, I only wanted to ride in dry conditions, so the first day was a good one to test on and to check how the bike and I were going,” he reported, according to the official World Superbike Championship website. “The bike was good and I was surprised that I was also good – not 100 per cent yet, but better.
“The team have been explaining very clearly to me where I can improve, and I really appreciate that. The Ninja is really competitive, and I was very surprised with the latest developments – it's improved a lot in several areas. We found a good dry set-up, but looking at my ideal times I could have been about 0.6 seconds better. In the wet I did not want to risk things too much, but we did some good laps when it was fully wet. I stopped when the track surface became inconsistent, as I really did not want to risk a fall.”