May 24, 2011
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Kawasaki's Tom Sykes (66) and Joan Lascorz (17).
Official Kawasaki Superbike Duo Head To Utah
Two of the three official Kawasaki riders in the WSBK championship will take part in the fifth round at MMP but Chris Vermeulen will instead make preparations for a return at the following race.
Lascorz has been offered the opportunity between the previous round in Italy and the MMP race weekend to test the latest developments on the awesome new Ninja ZX-10R in Japan, at the Autopolis circuit in the extreme west of the country. He will then make the trip to the USA in time for race weekend, which uniquely runs from Saturday to Monday at this venue. Raceday at MMP held on the national Memorial Day holiday, when America honours its servicemen and women.
For Sykes the Miller Motorsports Park circuit is one of his favourites on the 13 round campaign trail. The track offers up a tough challenge as it is located at such a high altitude compared to most others and the machine has to hold some angle of lean for the vast majority of the 4.907km lap. Sykes is currently 13th in the overall rankings, with Lascorz one point and one place behind.
Vermeulen will continue his recuperation in Europe during the MMP weekend, but he will test at Aragon in early June to get some welcome track time on his Ninja ZX-10R machine outside of the pressures of a regular race weekend. This special test will show how his recently injured left elbow has healed up since the previous round at Monza as well as giving Chris the chance to try our different machine settings and learn a circuit he has never been to before. Aragon is KRT's designated test track, and the venue for the seventh round of the championship.
Pedercini Team Kawasaki Superbike riders Roby Rolfo and Mark Aitchison will also travel to America looking for more points scoring success. Roby is 17th in the standings, Mark 18th.
There will be no Supersport World Championship race at Miller, but Kawasaki Provec Motocard.com riders Broc Parkes and David Salom will return to action alongside all the other riders in the main classes at Misano on June 12.
Tom Sykes: "Personally, I really look forward to this race, it is a beautiful part of the world and it is massive bonus to go racing there. We struggled there last year but we have a new bike this year and I am positive about that. I am hoping we can go there and certainly improve on last year but also improve on our previous results this year and move forward again. Hopefully we can make our hard work at the previous rounds count in America. The challenges for the rider there are the time zone change and the massive increase in altitude. You lose a bit of power from the bike at the high altitude but what you need is a bike set-up which turns and holds a good line at Miller. There is little of this circuit where you are completely upright. It sounds obvious but the more time we get on the bike the better we will be."
Joan Lascorz: "The idea of testing in Japan is to try some new ideas and give some feedback. I have my crew chief with me and I hope we can give good input into the development program. Our bike is so young and has more potential than we have been able to demonstrate so far. The track at Miller is exciting. The altitude means there is less power, but that is the same for everybody. The track has some fast corners that I like very much, so let us see if we can make it an easy bike to change direction with and then we can go as fast as the best ones. The team, Kawasaki, my crew chief and I are all learning the set-up steps we should avoid and the steps that give us something positive. Is not been easy for me to be competitive immediately, with no winter test, a new bike and new staff to work with, but I'm quite sure we are working with passion and motivation to improve race by race. We are preparing the base for a great future winning bike."
Chris Vermeulen: "It is disappointing to not race in America but my injuries are still healing. The good thing is they are improving. The decision was taken with the team and Kawasaki to miss the race and concentrate on testing. That's not only for myself to get some time under my belt away from the racing, but also to get more information about the bike. That means I should hopefully come back strong at Misano which is a track I know quite well. I have never ridden at Aragon before so it will be good to get some track time in and learn the track before we go there after Misano."