Tom Sykes further underlined his and Kawasaki's 2012 World Superbike potential by beating the race and pole lap records during a private Aragon Test.
The Englishman, on pole for the opening round in Phillip Island where he went on to take 4-3 race finishes, lapped 0.4sec under Carlos Checa's race lap record on day one of testing - then smashed Marco Melandri's pole record by the same margin on day two.
Testing alongside the factory BMW and Aprilia teams, Sykes finished exactly one-second clear of the field - and insisted he had set his best lap time with race rubber.
“I think we can be very pleased because we improved the feeling with the Ninja ZX-10R and I was able to manage my lap times a little bit easier,” he said.
“We improved the performance on race tyres at this track so hopefully that will improve our race times at the other tracks. We found better feedback and front traction at this test. I did a 1m 57.2 on race tyres today.”
Sykes set his scorching lap times despite feeling sore after a fast day one fall.
“I was a bit sore after my early fall, so my physical condition is not the best and that did not help me on the bike,” he confirmed. “It was a small mistake as I caught the gear lever on a fast downhill left. I am fine, just a bit stiff in my neck, shoulders and hips, but we still put in a good performance today and I will be fine for Imola.
“The team have been working fantastically well and Kawasaki has been progressing forwards, so big thanks to them. We used two bikes in the garage at this test and that saved us a little bit of time. Both bikes feel identical and the overall feeling is great. If we can keep working like this hopefully we can have a nice season.”
BMW's Leon Haslam and Sykes' team-mate Joan Lascorz were next quickest, both being credited with a 1m 58.2s on the second and final day.
“Our test was good and better than in Australia last time,” said Lascorz. “We improved our race pace and then we could push a little bit more once I felt comfortable. We have started to be in a better position where I want and need to be. My best lap was better than most riders at this test so I am feeling positive for the Imola race.”
Round two of the 2012 championship takes place at Imola on Sunday April 1.