WSBK Jerez: Sykes fastest despite fall, tyre life ‘critical’

Tom Sykes ends day one at Jerez on top of the timesheets but is left frustrated by a crash that robbed him of testing time in FP2
Tom Sykes ended the first day of World Superbike free practice at Jerez fastest overall despite a crash at the beginning of the afternoon session disrupting progress.

Combined times from Friday show Tom Sykes narrowly leading the way from team-mate and champion-in-waiting Jonathan Rea but the Englishman was frustrated at losing valuable testing time because of the spill.

At the venue where he clinched his world title in 2013, Sykes lost the front end of his ZX-10R at the banked turn two, a corner that also saw falls for Jordi Torres and Alex Phillis in the afternoon.

Coming after making several set-up tweaks, Sykes was thus unable to see the full effects of tyre wear around a track that offers little grip in hot afternoon temperatures.

“It was really strange,” Sykes said of his crash. “I lost the front in turn two. We tried something different, I can't say too much, but we were able to get back on, get the bike repaired and get back out there. That's the main thing. Unfortunately we lost around 20 minutes of the session. I'm disappointed for this but at the end of the day we did a fast time.

“There wasn't a lot of damage but when we got back to the garage the handlebar was a little stressed. You just can't take that chance of going out with a stressed handlebar. When you're braking for turn one the last thing you want to do is cause problems.

“We changed handlebars and brake system, which took a little bit of time. Unfortunate but that's race. The one bike rule is fairly shit but it's the same for everybody. The lap time was not so far from FP1 but, you know, I never got the chance to see the life of the tyre.”

In terms of race pace, Sykes was able to lap in the 1m 42s four times but only two of those were consecutive. Rea on the other hand was able to run seven 42s back-to-back under the afternoon sun.

“No, we didn't make too many [long distance runs]. We had no time. Like I said, we didn't get to try as much as we would have liked in FP2 but overall we have some good information for tomorrow and for this I'm relatively happy.

“We're getting more competitive but it just takes more time. The endurance of the tyre, the way its engineered and my style takes too much out of the tyre life. We have to focus on that. It's going to be very critical here. You need a lot of traction and you're on the side of the tyre a long time. We'll see as we need to work on this.”

Tagged as: Haslam , Jerez , Tom Sykes , Davies , lowes , Torres

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