After a two-day test at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain the Kawasaki Racing Team pairing of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea put in valuable development work for the future of the Ninja ZX-10R official Superbike World Championship machine.
With Sykes and Rea evaluating many parts and advances for the 2017 specification Ninja at Jerez the official KRT pairing learned valuable lessons, and delivered invaluable feedback to KHI to continue the project of machine development. They also found progress in set up that will allow them to compete even more strongly for the rest of he 2016 season.
With many new parts and strategies to try it was a busy testing period for all involved at Jerez, but ultimately a very positive one.
In warm and dry track temperatures over both days of the development tests the riders were able to complete a high lap count and complete their work schedules. Although the point of the test was not to improve outright pace over one lap both riders posted very competitive times, even on worn tyres and with track temperatures that got to over 60°C at times.
The intense Jerez test was welcomed by the riders and engineers, despite the logistical challenge involved in starting out on track on Wednesday June 1 in the south of Spain – shortly after the end of a highly successful race weekend in the UK at Donington Park, which culminated on Sunday 29th May.
The next challenge for the KRT squad will be the race weekend at Misano in Italy. Thanks to the work done at the Spanish tests, even using material destined for 2017, valuable lessons were learned about 2016 set-up and tyre performance that are not possible to evaluate in a regular race weekend.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The good weather meant we had lots of uninterrupted track time and the quite high temperatures which may be very relevant when we come to race here in October. We focused mainly on the electronics side and other components in preparation for 2017. We got positive information for that and the main target was to test the new material. Lap time was not the main focus but we managed to be quite fast and consistent on old tyres, and we spent a lot of time on them. We gained some really valuable information in some areas for the next race and some benefits we will not see the result of until 2017. I want to say thank you very much to everyone for organising this test. It was logistically very difficult so soon after Donington, so thanks to the mechanics, team staff and KHI staff for all the effort after a race weekend and then a test for two full days.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “We got in a really good test overall and did a lot of laps. I am really happy and the pace I got to here is really good, especially considering the track temperature was 63°C at some times. We have continued the good form from recent events and the best thing is that we were able to try things that we are not able to test at race events. We evaluated many things on chassis and suspension set up, and with our electronics. I did around 80 laps yesterday and about the same again today. I can relax now and think about all the things we did here. It has been really good to test because we have evaluated a lot of things and we are ready for the next race in Misano. Our lap times were fast but that was not our focus. All the same, I am pleasantly surprised at the lap times.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “The test was planned a long time ago and because of this we concentrated quite a lot on some items for next year. We worked with the electronics and with some engineers from KHI to start to analyse and understand the direction for next year. We can be very pleased with job we have been doing at Jerez. We collected a lot of information and we are also looking forward to the next race in Misano after this experience. We confirmed some new things for 2017 and overall it was very positive. We have many reasons to be happy that we have had this test.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Tom Sykes, stated: “Some of this test was preparation for 2017 and we confirmed what we expected, in a good way. We tested some electronic items and confirmed that they were maybe even better then we expected. We are in good situation. This was a very useful test from that point of view. We have been strong in the past couple of events but even compared to Donington we found a better chassis set up. Conditions were very hot sometimes and on day one we had track temperatures of over 60°C. Our consistency of pace was better than last year's race. It was just over 50°C then and the consistency at racing speed was even better during these tests. By the end we also tried to polish our current set up. We are ready and confident to enter the next race weekend.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “These tests have been really good for KRT & KHI. We could test many parts it is not possible to evaluate in a race weekend because time is tight and because they are part of a developing program of work. A lot of the ideas for next year related to electronics, suspension and set up to evaluate tyre performance. The Ninja ZX-10R is a great base to work on and in 2017 we will be even stronger, I’m sure. I would like to thank everybody, mechanics, KHI electronics staff and engineers, riders, all the team members and especially Danilo Casonato. My personal tribute to him with this mention. We have the best team staff of the world.”