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Champion Sykes back on track at Jerez
1 November 2013
Tom Sykes has returned to action for the first time since wrapping up his maiden World Superbike Championship title with a two-day test at Jerez.
Back at the circuit where he was crowned champion earlier in the month, Sykes and Kawasaki Racing team-mate Loris Baz spent the two days with a firm view towards 2014 as they look to maintain the Japanese's manufacturer place at the head of the series.
Completing more than 160 laps with a best time of 1min 40.4secs, Sykes was pleased with the progress made over the course of the test, claiming he is happier with the ZX-10R now than when he notched up his two critical podium finishes in Spain.
“This two-day test has been very good and I happy with the way it has gone. We have improved the feel of the Ninja ZX-10R and I am definitely much more comfortable with it. I am leaving the tests in very good spirits because we completed lots of laps and got a lot of work done.
“We have definitely done our fair share of testing! I have to give big credit to all our guys because they have been working flat out at these tests again. I am leaving these sessions happy and motivated. If I were to race again tomorrow I would feel more confident and in general I feel better and more relaxed on my bike, especially over race distance.
“Lap times have not been our focus but we have been running some very good lap times here on race tyres. It has been very positive, so I will travel back home a happy man.”
Baz, meanwhile, suffered a low-speed off in the morning as he continues to get back up to race fitness following a spell out through injury. The Frenchman's best lap was a 1min 41.2.
“This was quite a big test for me although I did not do as many laps as Tom. I wanted to take care with my back because it is still not quite 100 per cent yet. It went really well and the weather gave us some really good conditions to work in. I also like the track so it is always good to ride here. I did, I think, 60 laps on the first day and maybe 50 to 55 today.
“It went well because I think I was maybe a little too aggressive on the bike on the first day. This morning I had a very slow crash, but I made some good progress this afternoon because we tried good things in many areas. We made a big step compared to last year here and I am very confident for the next tests - and we have quite a few tests to do this winter!”
Kawasaki were joined at the two day test by Ducati, which debuted its new rider pairing of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano, while Fixi Crescent Suzuki were present with Leon Camier and possible new-signing Alex Lowes.
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