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Jan 18, 2013

High Wind Affects Final Day Of World Superbike Testing At Almeria

Tom Sykes (66).
KRT Back On Track During Almeria Test

Newsflash, 18 January 2013

Tom Sykes and Loris Baz undertook their first shakedown runs in preparation for the 2013 season and despite losing the second day at Almeria because of high winds, each found positives to take away.

The riders experienced generally favourable track conditions on day one at the popular testing venue in Spain, with Sykes putting in a full day on the Ninja ZX-10R but Baz losing some time in the afternoon.

Sykes was up to his expected fast pace very early in the test, and set a 1:34'9 lap time after just a few laps on race tyres, despite a break of over six weeks since his last test session due to the mandatory testing ban imposed by the series organisers.

For Baz the first day Almeria started well but he had to re-learn the circuit before getting up to speed, as he had not ridden there for many years, and only once before in dry track conditions.

Despite the loss of day two the team worked on advances in suspension and chassis components for the most part, which showed positive results. Now the entire KRT teams heads to Jerez, in Andalusia, for the second test of the pre-season on 22 and 23 January.

Tom Sykes: "The good news after day one was that we were straight on the pace after the winter break and got up to speed quickly. It proved a very useful day and I did 82 laps. There was a strong wind on day two, which is a shame because we did not venture out on the track. Even when I woke up this morning I could hear the wind really howling around the hotel. For us it all worked out nicely anyway because we worked on suspension, and other things to keep us moving forward. Now we go to Jerez for two days and I am looking forward to continuing our good work there."

Loris Baz: "I did not have a full first day because of some issues but we got back into riding the race machine and it was really good to get used to the bike again. For me, we tried to find some better things under braking. I think we did that so I am looking forward to do more work in that area at the next test in Jerez. The last time I rode at Almeria in the dry was on an 80cc bike in 2005, so I had to learn the track a little. It is quite different on a Superbike! We know what we need to try and confirm when we get to Jerez, so I just want some good weather then so I can ride for two full days."

Crew Chief Sykes, Marcel Duinker: "The idea of this test was to get the riders up to speed a bit after the break and we worked on a few little things. After a season like we had last year we start from a different point, so we were only fine-tuning the machine. We had some chassis and suspension updates and we were able to test some of those but we will continue on with them in Jerez. We are in schedule and with two good days at Jerez we should have no lack of testing time. We ended up doing similar lap times to last year at Almeria and Tom found the rhythm really quickly. He was as fast as last year after only three outings from pitlane. That was very impressive after not riding for quite a few weeks."

Crew Chief Baz, Pere Riba: "This was the first test after the long break in the winter and the target was just for the riders to get the rhythm again and of course to make a test of some small things. The first day was useful to us, and then today, because the wind was so strong, we had to cancel the track time. We are now looking to Jerez and I hope the weather is a little bit more consistent."

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

FIXI Crescent Suzuki has finished its first test of the 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship season in a positive mood after two days of promising testing.

Despite high-winds at the Almeria circuit in Spain today, Leon Camier completed the majority of his initial test programme, before the team ended the day early, as gusting winds made conditions very difficult. Camier used the new-spec 2013 engine for the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R today, but due to the weather conditions he was unable to make a complete evaluation of the latest motor. The Englishman is now looking forward to getting back on track at Jerez to continue with the pre-season testing.

Jules Cluzel continued to impress on only his second outing on a Superbike. He had a successful day as he continued to learn how the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R performs. Cluzel also improved on his lap-times - despite the conditions being a lot tougher than they were yesterday. The Frenchman had a small crash just before the team finished for the day, which resulted in a slight injury to his arm, but didn't damage the excellent couple of day's work he had already put in. Cluzel didn't need any treatment to the wound and will be fully fit for the next time the team takes to the track.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now head across Spain to Jerez for a further two-day test on the 22nd and 23rd January, before returning to the team's headquarters to prepare for the trip to Australia for the first round of the season in February.

Leon Camier:

"The weather today was awful; because it was so windy it made it difficult to do anything really meaningful. We managed to get a few jobs done and although we tried the new-spec engine, we couldn't really understand the differences because of the conditions. I am now looking forward to Jerez and carrying on from the progress we have made here during these two days and trying out the 2013 engine properly."

Jules Cluzel:

"I really enjoyed myself today, because I felt so much better on the bike than I did yesterday. I know I improved my lap-times and am not so far away now, so I am pleased with that on only my second day on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R. The wind was really strong this afternoon and I had a little crash. I don't know what happened really, it was a bit of a surprise so it might have been the wind. I am ok - just a small hole in my arm - but I'll be all right for next week. We are going to Jerez now and I know the track well, so I think I'll be able to go a bit quicker and get closer to the fastest riders."