Sykes: We're heading in the right direction

Last year's World Superbike Championship runner-up Tom Sykes in upbeat mood after encouraging test at Jerez
Kawasaki's Tom Sykes is beginning to feel at home on his new Ninja ZX-10R after the 2013 World Superbike champion made some encouraging gains at the Jerez test.

Sykes was credited with the second fastest time during the two-day test behind Ducati's Davide Giugliano, setting a best lap in 1m 39.694s compared to the Italian's benchmark of 1m 39.332s.

The Yorkshire rider, who had to give second best to Sylvain Guintoli in the championship last year, revealed he was now much closer to determining a base setting for the Kawasaki as the opening round of the season at Phillip Island in February looms closer.

“It has been a successful two days of testing and we have worked through a lot of variables, coming much closer to a base setting for the bike. In general I am very happy,” said Sykes.

“We found more of our potential with the race tyre and the qualifying tyre and just did one final lap on each to understand the work we had done. That confirmed that we are headed in the right direction.

“The two last laps I did were quite relaxed, not expecting too much, and I saw some riders using more than one qualifying tyre - maybe even three. We are going to Phillip Island quite happy that we are focused on where we need to be and hopefully we will be fine-tuning in the glorious sunshine,” he added.

“It was important to have these two days of consistent weather and we did a lot of laps. The weather gave us a good stable test.”

The Jerez shakedown took on extra significance after the two-day test at Portimao in Portugal was largely thwarted by cold and damp weather.

However, warm and sunny conditions at Jerez offered the opportunity for some much-needed development time as teams continue to maximise the performance of their machines in line with the new technical regulations introduced for 2015, with more stringent rules limiting the amount of engine tuning permitted this season.

Despite this, both Sykes and new team-mate Jonathan Rea (1m 39.745s) – third fastest overall – dipped inside the circuit record for the class at Jerez.

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January 29, 2015 6:40 PM

Sykes will be hungrier than ever this coming season. He knows that Rea is hungry for his first championship, Ducati is getting better, Aprilia is still Aprilia, and Biaggi wants to re-claim his crown. Sykes will consistently be a podium threat and wins will come. Hopefully no one takes him out.

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