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Oct 31, 2012

Kawasaki's Baz, Sykes Complete First Shakedown Test Of 2013 Superbikes

Tom Sykes testing his 2013 Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike at Valencia.
KRT Valencia Test Proves To Be A Positive Experience For All

Newsflash, 31 October 2012

Kawasaki Racing Team pairing Tom Sykes and Loris Baz concluded two days of testing at Valencia yesterday as part of the build up to the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship season.

The Valencia circuit, tight and intense, with many corners squeezed into a small overall area, was dry for the team on the first day but rains at lunchtime on the second day brought the tests to a premature halt. Despite this, each rider still put in more than 130 laps so the sessions proved to be very worthwhile in a multitude of ways.

The asphalt at Valencia has been resurfaced recently and was smoother than the last visit to the former SBK championship circuit.

As the venue is no longer used for SBK racing it was decided to not carry on testing in wet conditions, with action finishing at around 1pm, as the data gathered would have only very limited relevance. In dry conditions the team believe that the resurfaced track was around 0.5 seconds faster than before after consulting with other teams that were running Spanish championship machinery at the tests.

Tom and Loris consider that for a first shakedown of their new 2013 Ninja ZX-10R race machines the track offered a good opportunity to gain valuable track time, until the rains arrived.

Last year in testing Sykes put in a 1'33.1s lap time at Valencia, and this year, on day one and then again on worn tyres on day two, he set a 1'32.8s best. Baz set a strong 1'33.4s lap time, a good mark considering that fast outright lap times were not the aim of this test in particular. Both riders consider that if the rains had not appeared on the final afternoon then their lap times could have been in the region of 0.5 seconds faster.

The next test outing for the team will be at Motorland Aragon, in mid November, with three days of action scheduled.

Tom Sykes: "To be honest the lap times came quite comfortably and we had a decent pace on the first day. We only used one set of tyres on the final morning and on lap 15 I equalled my best from day one but then the rains came and we had to stop early. We got some good information to keep moving forward with development of the Ninja ZX-10R. The grip from the new surface at Valencia was good and it was quite a bit smoother than last time but we were sharing the track with smaller bikes which were using different lines in some places, so there were some corners which did not offer the same grip as they used to offer. I am already familiar and comfortable with the 17-inch tyres and they worked well with myself and the Kawasaki around Valencia. They were working fast and consistently. Overall I am happy with that we have been doing so far."

Loris Baz: "The test went well, very positive, so it was a pity that the rains came in the afternoon of the second day because we still had some things to try. I think I could have gone maybe even 0.5 seconds faster, I'm sure. I had a good pace straight away on the first day, so I am happy. The evolution of the bike went in a good way so everything is positive."

Crew Chief Sykes, Marcel Duikers: "Our test was not quite as long as we expected but it went well. We had the first rollout of the 2013 bikes on day one and right away we had some positive results in terms of lap times. We had some rain on the final day so we decided to stop. We used this as a sort-of shakedown test for the next test at Aragon and the rest of the winter schedule."

Crew Chief Baz, Pere Riba: "The test went well even though we did not get two completely dry days. We made progress with the new bikes and the information we gathered, so it was all positive. The new bikes have many small new details but we were just doing a normal development test. The 17-inch tyres are working well and we have found positive points straight away, even with the settings we had from 2012. We are happy with that."