Sykes and Rea getting prepared for 2018 with strong winter test
Topping the winter testing for the second consecutive day, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was delighted with the steps himself and his team had made, breaking the lap record along the way. After a tough 2017 for the British rider, he is hopeful of making some steps for next season with his ZX-10RR.
Sykes’ time of 1.38.735 put him at the top of the WorldSBK timing screens around Circuito de Jerez on Wednesday, as they shared the track with MotoGP™ riders. Working on the new regulations for 2018, the British rider was lapping with a fast pace right from the green light this morning, and he was happy to be moving in a strong direction. Taking a break from the track action tomorrow, he will spend a day resting before continuing with his plan on Friday.
Sykes explains: “We’re relatively happy, I want to say a big thanks to the team because they’ve been working really hard. We’ve got to make the most of this opportunity, because it’s been no secret I’ve not been as happy and performing as well as I should and could be. But this winter testing for me is all about releasing my speed, which I know I’ve got, and so far the plan is going very well and I’m happy with the progress we’re making. All things considered at the moment, we’re heading in the right direction. I’ve been out on my own quite a bit and it’s good to be learning how to work with the new regulations for next year.”
Returning from London after collecting his MBE, Jonathan Rea was delighted with his pace from Jerez, and he is beginning to build his confidence with the 2018 Ninja machine. Keeping a cool head throughout the test, he is content with the progress made, and noted the importance of heading back out on track directly after a crash at turn 12.
Happy with the progress he made, Rea commented: “I was in one suit yesterday with the tie and today with my Alpinestars suit, so it’s a completely different world! Today has been great; we have ticked many boxes for our 2018 bike. Monday was an initiation test and today we have focused mainly on chassis items, and then for the rest of the day we have dedicated to Showa. There are a lot of positives, some things are at the same level as before, some better and some worse but just going through the motions of testing - which is not my favourite thing to do - but it’s really positive.”
Regarding his crash in Turn 12 at midday, the 2017 World Champion adds: “It was a big crash, as soon as I touched the front brake I just lost the front tyre, and I did everything to try to keep the bike up – I dug in my knee and my elbow but unfortunately it was gone. We’ve been riding on a very high level with the race tyre today, so I was getting more confidence and was going faster and faster but we crashed, but it was important to get back on the bike for my confidence. I hurt my neck a bit in the crash so I need to get it looked at, and sometimes you can do too much testing but we will see tomorrow and keep it at a calm level.”
Watch all the reactions from day three at Jerez, and continue to follow the pre-2018 action with the WorldSBK VideoPass.