Kawasaki Racing Team dominate Friday in Spain
British team-mates Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) completed the opening day at the Pirelli Spanish Round at the top of the timesheets, as the pair are continuing to find some strong pace with the ZX-10RR.
Having never won around the Circuito de Jerez in the past, Rea’s target for the weekend is to take the victory in Spain, and if he is able to feel comfortable with his front tyre on his ZX-10RR then he will ensure a strong Saturday in Spain. Despite a crash at turn eight, Rea was still able to end the opening day with a strong lap time but hopes to wake up feeling fully fit on Saturday.
“It was a pretty big crash,” begins the 2017 world champion. “I had some huge impact to my elbow and my shoulder, after my Magny-Cours crash my shoulder was a little bit tender. It was a strange crash because it caught me completely off guard, the asphalt on that corner is tearing up a lot, but we put some more traction control in that corner and we continued with the plan to test the tyres. I think the rear is going to be fine, and with three options for the front tyre, it gives different results in the hotter temperatures. The new tarmac has so much grip and gives me a lot of confidence. They key is to wake up not too sore in the morning, we just need to understand the front tyre, our pace is really fast here in Jerez but we just need to look at the tyres. Let’s hope that we can cross the T’s and dot the I’s.”
British team-mate Sykes had a steady start to his weekend but put in a really strong lap time at the end of FP2, meaning he was able to finish in second position overall. Putting his improvement of pace down to the warmer temperatures we experienced in the afternoon around Jerez, the Yorkshire born rider is feeling comfortable on his green machine. A lap time of 1.40.888 put him just 0.597s behind his team-mate as he looks forward to improving his pace on Saturday.
Sykes explained: “We’ve been working steady in FP1, finding different parameters with the bike and not pushing too much. FP2 was a lot hotter, similar to the heat we’ll be racing in and in the end the bike cam together. I’m happy with the performance today, and we put some good information in, so we will try and improve a bit tomorrow we’ve got a strong set up on the ZX-10RR. Tomorrow is another day and I’m looking forward to it, the new tarmac is really smooth here on my injured hand and I’m really enjoying it. My fitness on the bike is not a problem but when I close my hand the outside fingers don’t do the job, the difficulty is the change of direction but for sure the hard bit is the race start but I just need to get on with it and no problem for race distance.”
Follow all the Kawasaki Racing Team progress throughout the Pirelli Spanish Round, all on the WorldSBK VideoPass.