Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz are heading to the final round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship at Portimao with a view to ending their respective seasons on a positive note.
Fronting Kawasaki's campaign with the newly-developed ZX-10R Superbike, Sykes and Lascorz have enjoyed an 'up and down year', peaking with Sykes's victory at the Nurburgring and his pole position at Misano.
With Kawasaki is destined for fifth in the manufacturer standings – ahead of Honda and Suzuki -, Sykes wants to continue its solid recent form at Portimao.
"Portimao is a bit of a unique circuit but it is a fantastic facility and a circuit that provides great racing. My aim is to be consistent throughout race weekend and make the most of the race package. The year has been up and down. I am not where I wanted to be in the table now but we have shown signs of real potential and we have certainly improved the package to run with the top five or six in the series.
“Where we are now is where I wanted to be in the middle part of the season. Of course we have reached maximum in qualifying, won a race and taken a fastest lap, so we have actually achieved the maximum in all aspects at certain times. I am refreshed after the last round and I am confident that the new Ninja ZX-10R should work well this weekend again."
Despite Sykes's headline-grabbing performances, it is actually Lascorz that sits ahead of his team-mate in the standings having progressed to 11th overall. However, having struggled over a single lap this season, the Spaniard says he needs to do better in Superpole to make the most of his decent race pace.
"This track is where I tested a WSB bike for the first time at the end of 2009 when Kawasaki let me try the bike so I have good memories. When we look at the season so far we can say in some ways it is not bad but we have also had some bad luck. It was great to see Tom winning in the wet in Germany and it was very motivating for me.
“Tom is so good in Superpole and I'm better over a long distance at the moment. I'm happy with some of the races this season but not too happy about Superpole. I need to find more force to push the bike harder for just one lap and I am sure I will improve in that area."
Kawasaki has not confirmed its riders for the 2012 season, though Lascorz is expected to stay on, while Sykes has been in negotiations with the manufacturer.