2016 Kawasaki Racing Team duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes completed a two-day test at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain, with a little more excitement than usual for Sykes.
Most of the key elements of Kawasaki’s 2016 Ninja ZX-10R were evaluated at this test, in readiness for the next one in two week’s time – then ultimately a full season of competition in the FIM Superbike World Championship next season.
Jonathan Rea set a fastest lap of 1’40.6 on the 2016 bike, which is the full WorldSBK spec race version of the new 2016 showroom model, recently unveiled to the world in Spain. He completed 114 laps in total.
Sykes tried both 2015 and 2016 components and machinery at this test but ended up with a more or less complete 2016 set-up in readiness for the next test for the team, to be held at Motorland Aragon between 16 and 17 November.
Jerez delivered two valuable days on track for Tom, who posted a best lap of 1’41.0 and 117 laps in total, despite losing some time due to damp weather each morning at the 4.423km long circuit in Andalusia.
“Honestly, testing is not my favourite part of the job but it has been necessary to make a really constant effort because Kawasaki has brought many new components for the 2016 bike. Rea said.
"It has quite a different character from last season so we had to evaluate many things. The main thing was the chassis balance of the bike and we have some positives from that. The engine character is quite different to the 2015 bike as well so we have been working with the electronics to maximise that and make it suit my style. We got through the vast majority of the test items and we are happy because we were able to lap a lot faster than we did during race weekend, with a similar temperature. So that is encouraging.”
Sykes however found the testing process less draining but not without its perils. “Overall the test was pretty good. We had some issues to deal with but yesterday started well considering the condition of the track early in the morning. Our plan today was to work through a lot of things, some interesting components. All things considered I am happy with the progress of things.
I also hit a bird today, and during a good lap!That caught me by surprise and I had to enter the pits because of the impact. The bird hit the screen and then hit me in the front of my crash helmet, right on my visor and chin bar! On the whole, it was a good test and it has set us up to be ready for the next one.”