Newsflash, 30 November 2011
After two winter test sessions in Spain, at Aragon and more recently Valencia, KRT riders Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz enter the enforced winter break in good spirits after posting strong performances.
The three-day Valencia test finished on Wednesday 30th November, just before the new testing ban kicks in for all WSBK teams. Sykes, using race tyres, set a best lap of 1'33.1s, which is a tenth or so faster than the best Superpole lap ever recorded at the former WSBK venue.
Overhead conditions on the first day at Valencia started out cloudy but the afternoon and the final two days provided good track conditions, allowing both Sykes and Lascorz to make improvements that saw them set consistently strong lap times, whether on fresh race rubber or nearing the end of a long run.
There were many developments to the race-winning Ninja ZX-10R for both riders to test, including suspension, linkages, electronics, chassis geometry and the latest ride-by-wire system.
With more direct control of the entire KRT Superbike World Championship project once more evident at these tests, there were several Japanese engineers in the pit garages as all the team-members refined their working methods and strategies.
After the test ban is lifted in mid January the team will take to the track once more in Spain, at Almeria, to make further steps down the road toward the start of the new WSBK season. The 14-round/28-race campaign commences at Phillip Island in Australia on 26 February 2012.
Tom Sykes: "The tests went well and we ended up doing a 1'33.1 lap time on a race tyre. We have worked through a lot of different things, we are working well in the garage and I am relaxed. It is no secret that when I'm relaxed I work my best. We have had some good weather - consistent weather - in Valencia and that made it better to work through all we needed to do. We have a new electronics package and found a better overall machine balance for me. We also went well at Aragon even though we only really had half a good day there, because of weather and some car tyre rubber laid on the track surface. Once the conditions improved it took us only four outings of four laps each to beat the kind of lap times I set at the race last summer. Right now we are on a package that we have not changed so much between the two tests. We have a fairly good base setting that works for race distance and, when we put new tyres in, for a fast lap time as well. I think we have come a long way even since the post-season Portimao test. The bike tells me what it is doing quite a lot better than before, and the improved feedback tells me when I am arriving at the limit."
Joan Lascorz: "I am very happy the way the test went because I set good lap times and I was very happy with the performance of the bike and the team. We made a lot of changes to the bike, changed a lot of general settings and worked on the suspension. Some are now much different from last year. All the staff worked well together again. I think I learned most from this test in terms of finding out more about our latest machine settings and then finding a more consistent good pace. These things should allow us to challenge closer to the top in 2012. Tom was very fast and we both worked well with race tyres."