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Jun 18, 2014

Kawasaki World Superbike Rider Sykes: "My Hand Is Slowly Improving"

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes (1).

Return To Misano For Motivated KRT Riders

The seventh round of the FIM Superbike World Championship offers KRT SBK riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz more chances of podium success, on the return of the Misano World Circuit to the SBK calendar. KRT SBK Evo rider David Salom aims to win more Evo category races this weekend, as he enjoys the championship lead in this class-within-a-class.

Sykes enters the Misano round 13 points in the lead in the championship fight on his official Ninja ZX-10R and having scored four race wins so far. His most recent race finish was third at the steamy Sepang circuit in early June, despite suffering from painful hand and leg injuries sustained in first race crash, following a mistake from his team mate Loris Baz.

For 21-year-old Frenchman Baz a first race win of 2014 has proved elusive so far, but he has scored five podiums and is currently fourth in the championship fight. Like everyone else in the class he will have to re-learn the Misano layout again after the race was dropped from the calendar in 2013, but he has ridden there on a wide variety of machinery in the past.

In terms of previous Misano circuit experience Sykes has visited the 4.226km track near the Adriatic coast on four previous occasions, all in the Superbike class. Tom has enjoyed two Superpole qualifying successes at the Misano circuit, in 2011 and 2012, and this year he will be out to score his first podium finishes at the twisty Misano layout.

During his single previous SBK class visit to Misano Baz made two race starts in the 2012 season and this prior knowledge will help him find an optimum bike set-up to take on one of the most intense circuits on the SBK calendar.

At Misano David Salom has been a regular rider in different classes and despite the lingering effects of injury to his throttle hand he is out to try and win in the Evo category again, as he did in race one at the previous round in Sepang.

There was no SBK race at Misano in 2013, but it still ranks as one of the most visited tracks in the history of Superbike racing, with fully 42 individual races having been completed there. The most recent layout of the track has seen contests being run in reverse of Misano’s original anti-clockwise direction. This makes for some unique corner approaches on the current layout, particularly from the exit of the Tramonto hairpin through a series of right hand curves, with riders gradually losing speed at each apex on the approach to the tight Carro hairpin.

At Misano the raceday schedule now returns to the norm for a European race in the 2014 season, with the 21-lap Superbike races taking place at 10.30 and 13.10 local time.

The regular rhythm of the 2014 calendar season continues at Portimao in Portugal after the Misano weekend, with raceday on Sunday 6 July.

Tom Sykes: “Misano, in general, is a circuit with quite a few corners and is built on a smaller scale than some others. Kawasaki and myself have worked hard to develop a Ninja ZX10R that can be competitive on a mixture of circuits. We have proven that. In the combination of myself, the bike and the team I feel confident that we can be competitive anywhere. My hand is slowly improving and we are back on track this weekend, so we will see how we go for the races on Sunday. I will have a good chat with my crew chief Marcel on Thursday at Misano and we will see how I we can arrive at the best possible race scenario on Sunday. Misano is not the most enjoyable layout as a rider because it is very small and there is not so much room to let the Ninja ZX-10R get rolling. It is the same for everybody, however, and I feel have ridden well there in the past. Will try to ride well there once more this weekend.”

Loris Baz: “I really like the Misano track - even though it is not my favourite one to ride at - simply because I have always felt quite strong there. I am sure we can go well there again because in 2012, the first time I went there with the Superbike, I felt good on the Ninja ZX-10R. I think I was eighth back then in race two, not so long after I had got on the official bike for the first time. I am really looking forward to going to Misano after a disappointing weekend in the previous round at Malaysia. Hopefully we can continue the rest of the year the way we were on the previous weekends. We have start that good work again, get back onto the podium and then take the first win. Misano is totally different from Sepang and I am sure we can go well there because we have been fast from Aragon to Donington, which are very different to each other.”

David Salom: “In Misano it is always very hot but I am sure it will be better than the heat in Malaysia! There are maybe five or six hard braking areas on the Misano layout, plus many changes of direction, so it is tough track for these aspects. I am feeling OK for the weekend because I have changed my training routine a little recently, to try and help my injured right hand recover. Until recently I was training every day with a motorcycle to try and make it stronger, but when I got to the races it was painful and inflamed. Now I do not use a motorbike for training, I just do cycling or work in the gym, and now the feeling is better. Of course I am happy to be leading the Evo class championship at this stage, by 17 points, but although I get asked about it all the time this is not the way we want to think about it. We just want to concentrate to win the races as they come along because if you win all the races you will win the championship.”

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