Mid-season test complete for championship leaders
Always trying to be one step ahead of their rivals, Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) took to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve this week. Out on track at a private two day test, working on the pace of the ZX-10RR machines the team now look ahead to Round Four of the championship, at TT Circuit Assen.
Without the hassle of a race weekend, Rea and Sykes were able to get their heads down and work through some issues encountered already this season. As well as this, they can now begin to understand how their machines work around the 4.5km circuit, with Round 10 set to be crucial for the championship charge come September
Lapping at around 1.41s, Rea was able to work on his pace with the qualifying tyre which is new from Pirelli for 2017: “We worked in a calm and methodical way, even though we never had perfect conditions on the ground because there were only a few bikes on track. In saying that, the weather has been amazing and we were able to make a lot of laps – we made a good step forward with our chassis set up, practise starts as well as our overall pace following two full race simulations. After we ticked all the items off the list of work we had to do I used a Q tyre and we were able to make a really fast lap. It comes at a good time to try to keep the momentum we have build up as we move forward now to Assen.”
Despite still suffering with his stomach issues from MotorLand Aragon now two weeks ago, Sykes left Portugal feeling happy with his steps made, and he feels he is now closer to the leading lap times on used tyres. Suffering with a small front end slide on Tuesday afternoon, his best time was a 1.42.3s.
“Trying to ride a Superbike really fast in my current condition was not ideal” explains Sykes. “But this test was very useful as we confirmed a few things, but my pure performance is not quite there yet. On the first day we stopped for lunch a bit early, so we narrowed down our test items but once we got started again in the afternoon we were heading in a good direction. I am happy about the steps we made and I am looking forward to Assen. On race tyres we were definitely in the ballpark and that was nice to see, as I am certainly not myself yet on the bike. But all things considered we are happy with his test overall.”
Following an impressive days testing for the pair, they now prepare as the series heads to the iconic TT Circuit Assen for Round Four – the Acerbis Dutch Round. Held from 28-30th April, Rea will be hoping to continue his stunning domination around the circuit and increase his championship lead, whilst Sykes will be looking to secure his first win of the season.