Kawasaki Racing Team complete tough final European test
Despite finishing on the top of the timing screens on both days around the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) struggled with his pace over the two days, as wind made conditions difficult for the reigning world champion. On the other side of the garage, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) may have had some less impressive lap times but was happy with the progress he made in Europe.
Rea’s final lap time of 1.41.485 put in towards the end of the second day secured his position at the top of the timing screens, but he was hindered by the wind around the sweeping circuit. Working throughout the day on tyres, day two was more interrupted for the three-time champion however they were able to work through all their testing regime. Happier with the feeling on his bike, the Northern Irish rider was able to take some positives but overall felt less comfortable on his ZX-10RR.
Rea explained: “Today was actually bit of a difficult day with the conditions, very windy and gusty as well, so I really did not feel comfortable pushing on the limit. It did not make any sense to use a qualifying tyre or do long runs. We also made some practice starts and tested a new front and a new rear tyre from Pirelli. We expect those to come in some time in the future, but both times I used them I got interrupted by red flags. So it was a strange day in some ways. Generally the test has been good because yesterday we were able to have two hours while the wind was a bit reduced and do some productive testing. We have ticked all the boxes and the feeling with the bike has improved. I have woken up, because in Jerez last week I was still fast but I did not feel 100% on the bike. Here I was much better on the first laps.”
Heading into 2018 with a new outlook, British rider Sykes was happy with his two days overall as he worked on used Pirelli tyres. His lap time of 1.42.312 wasn’t enough to light up the timing screens, but he was feeling happier with his feeling on the ZX-10RR.
“It went relatively well today,” begins Sykes. “But we did not get that initial fastest lap time. On used tyres the pace and was much better and where we need to be. The last two days we have been basically function testing so we never really got to dial in the set-up but I am happy because were are not too far from where we need to be. I felt we were making good progress and we have got everything done in time to go to Phillip Island. I can go there with a clean slate and really start working.”
Relive the highlights from the Portimao test, and build up for the opening round of the season from Phillip Island Grand Prix with the WorldSBK VideoPass.