Following the lengthy winter ban, Kawasaki heralded the start of its 2012 World Superbike Championship countdown with a test at Almeria.

With the official group test, which takes place a week before the start of the opening round in Australia, still a month away, Kawasaki travelled to the Spanish venue to shakedown its 2012 ZX-10R with its riders Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz.

Despite cold weather, Sykes posted a time of 1min 34.6secs, while Lascorz was half a second adrift with 1min 35.1secs, though both concentrated on getting the most from their tyres over a race distance.

"It went very well because we arrived at another kind of circuit compared to the ones we have tested at before and the bike worked well straight away," said Sykes, race winner at the Nurburgring in 2011. "After a big winter lay off it only took me ten laps to go faster than I have ever been at Almeria.

"I was happy with that. After that it was a case of testing some small items we had requested from KHI. It was consistently around 15 degrees in terms of track temperature and the sun was shining, so we could not ask for any more in January. The track was in good condition as well, just a bit dusty off line."

"We tested everything," Lascorz added. "It was cold in the mornings at Almeria but the track conditions were good and it was sunny each day, but there was some snow in the mountains around the track. This is the last test before we go to Australia so we decided the final direction of the machine set-up to take there and, in general, for the rest of the season.

"Tom and I have very a different machine set-up now but it is just to suit our different riding styles. The most important thing is that the difference between the fastest riders and the others in the races is that they get the tyres to last for the whole race distance. This is the most important thing."