Strong Restart For KRT After Two Days On Track At Jerez
Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes made a positive start to their 2017 championship preparations on the new Ninja ZX-10RR during a two-day test at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, with Rea going fastest of all and Sykes placing third
Two-time champion Rea set a lap of 1’39.809 on the final afternoon, after also posting the fastest lap on the opening day. His eventual leading time was achieved with a standard race tyre fitted front and rear, as he wanted to concentrate on a race set-up only at this stage.
2013 world champion Sykes finished his two-day test with a 1’40.219 best lap for third best lap time of the entire test sessions. He also used a race tyre combination to set his quickest time. Both Rea and Sykes experienced crashes on day two but came back with determination to complete their programme of work and improve their individual performance.
This test was used partly to underline which material and components they will use to take on the challenge of the first two rounds of the season in Australia and Thailand, and to evaluate some development parts, especially in terms of suspension.
The dry weather conditions that favoured both days of track action at Jerez allowed the KRT duo to make consistent progress in many areas, with one more Jerez test session in Europe to complete before the last pre-race outing – the official organisers’ tests at Phillip Island – between 20th and 21st February.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is nice to set such a good lap time at this time of the year but it is testing and I have never been the best guy for one lap. We have been able to make many fast laps in these winter tests, however, and we have found a bike set-up that has been working well. The grip level at this test was a little bit lower than in November but we have been able to find consistency as well. With the different character on the track we have been able to evaluate different rear shocks. Showa have been working so hard and I am really impressed. I felt my own ‘bike fitness’ was not great as I have been off the race bike for so many weeks now. I am looking forward to the next test to try and do a lot of laps. I need some more mileage to feel like I did during the season last year.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I am happy enough even though I suffered with my neck all day today after a crash, while I was riding the bike at least. That took the edge off me a bit but we still did a lot of things with the bike and tried a lot of different set-ups. Jerez is not my strongest circuit anyway but thanks to Marcel, Danilo and all the boys we finished the day very happy. I feel all the information we have from today means we will be strong. We were able to make real progress. We are still struggling in some areas but we will keep working and I feel we are putting in enough laps and mileage during testing to build ourselves a stronger package for Phillip Island and round one.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Jonathan’s best time was done with standard race tyres. This afternoon we made a small change with the balance of the bike, to make things more sharp and to concentrate on finding a lap time. We also found some good things with the electronics so Jonathan felt good with the bike. We decided not to put in a qualifying rear tyre as there was no point. We know if he had put in a qualifier he would be faster. I was happy on the first day that the track did not have fantastic grip yet because it is better to work in those conditions to understand the bike. When you have good grip almost everything you test feels good. We have to understand the best way possible with low grip and high grip so this test was very positive.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Tom Sykes, stated: “We continued our test schedule from where we finished last November at Jerez. It was not the perfect test back then but we continued well here; we made a good step forward. We know the regulation change from 2016 to 2017 means we have to adapt the bike set-up as well as we can. Then it is up to the rider, but we made some fundamental tests regarding new parts and today we put all the good things together. At the end of the day Tom was fairly happy with his speed and consistency. We made a good step and we will continue next week in testing. I am sure after the second day of those tests we will be ready to move to Phillip Island for the first race.”