Sep 18, 2012
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Tom Sykes (66).
Penultimate Round Brings Opportunities
WSBK, Portimao, Portugal, 18 September 2012
Tom Sykes and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) will start the second-to-last round of the 2012 season in good shape on their Ninja ZX-10R machines, with each already a proven race winner this year.
Sykes has been in fabulous form this year, by making good use of every advance that his team and the development engineers of KHI have been able to provide. Despite the truly competitive nature of the SBK championship in 2012, with eight individual riders having taken wins, Tom is third in the championship, only 26.5 points from the lead and with a maximum of 100 points up for grabs for any rider who wins all four remaining races.
Sykes has already scored strongly in 2012, having taken two race wins, 10 podiums, seven poles and three fastest laps.
Loris Baz joined the KRT team in the mid-season of 2012 and quickly adapted to life in a factory team. He has gone on to score a race win, three podiums in total and one fastest lap so far.
The teenage rider from France is a big fan of the Portimao track and hopes to come away with two more strong performances to boost his overall placing up from 14th. Loris has only made 16 individual WSBK race starts in total so far, which makes his performance to date all the more remarkable.
Pedercini Team Kawasaki rider David Salom will once more be joined by Alexander Lundh, each looking to score points in what is a very tough season for the strength-in-depth of riders and machines throughout the SBK field.
Tom Sykes: "The Portimao circuit is quite extreme, especially in the way it changes elevation so fast and so often, but I think that the way the Ninja ZX-10R is working we should be able to go to any circuit and do well. Right now, with two rounds to go, 90% of my thoughts are about taking it just one race at a time, and of course we will do what we have been doing all year when we get to Portugal. Obviously, ten percent of me is also thinking that we are in a good position in the table. If we play our cards right we can stay in the top three, and if we play our cards really well then we can win the championship. But in reality, come race weekend, we will go race-by-race and carry on as we have been doing. I think that we have proved to people that when the bike set-up is working we can be fast and we have the pace to run at the front consistently. I am confident in my own ability and both the team and Kawasaki have been fantastic. If we keep working on the set-up and get it to where it should be every time, then we all should be pretty happy."
Loris Baz: "I really like the track in Portugal, it is always one of my favourites and I also have good memories from some previous years. I have been on the podium there in both Superstock classes in the past. I do not agree that it is a really small track. Moscow was small, but Portimao is a very interesting track, there are a lot of different kinds of corners. It is getting bumpier every year but we will work for that and I feel confident for this weekend. The final corner is one of my favourites because you cannot see the exit when you lean into it, plus it is very fast. I think that corner is a good test for a rider because you have to trust yourself a lot."
More, from another press release issued by Kawasaki:
Points And Podiums The Aim For WSS Duo
WSS, Portimao, Portugal, 18 September 2012
Kenan Sofuoglu has an impressive 38-point lead as the WSS championship enters the penultimate round and he will go to Portugal determined to take the title on his Kawasaki Lorenzini Ninja ZX-6R.
Kenan's season so far has been punctuated by many highs and a few lows but he has racked up an enviable run of statistics on the way to a lead that leaves only one potential rival for the championship now, Jules Cluzel. Sofuoglu has scored eight podiums in total, four of which were wins, plus a pole position at Brno.
After beating Cluzel last time out in Germany, Sofuoglu now only needs one more strong finish at Portimao to guarantee his third WSS title and his first for Kawasaki.
Sheridan Morais, Kenan's Kawasaki Lorenzini team-mate, has the aim of securing his second podium finish of the 2012 season at Portimao, which is the circuit he first tested his current Ninja ZX-6R at after the end of last season.
Fabien Foret (Intermoto Step Racing) is out to consolidate his third place in the championship, having already won two races this year. The experienced French rider is four points ahead of Alex Lowes, and 16 behind his fellow countryman Cluzel. Romain Lanusse, Foret's team-mate, is currently 16th.
Kenan Sofuoglu: "I am feeling good and ready for the next race. Hopefully if I can finish the race in Portugal without mistakes or problems then probably I can win the title. Before the last round I knew it was very important to win the race and I won it, so I met my goal there. I like the track at Portimao but I will have to see how it goes there on my Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. I think, normally, without anything happening, that we should be able to make a top four finish. We will see how our weekend is shaping up on Friday when we get there. I just need to make the maximum points possible an try to win the championship there, and if not we will have to go forward to Magny-Cours."
Sheridan Morais: "I rode Superstock 1000 for the Lorenzini team in 2011 and Portimao gave me my best result by far, a podium. All weekend we were really fast in dry conditions then, so clearly it a very good place for me to race at and it is similar to the tracks in South Africa because it is up and down. Fortunately I was able to test the Kawasaki WSS bike there at the end of last season, in the official test sessions. I did a lot of laps on it. We have got quite a good set-up because we did manage to do quite a good lap times at the test, so we have a base set-up for Portimao. That should allow us to have a good start to the weekend. I would like to get podiums in the last two races. We were looking for top five ranking before the end of the year but the DNF at the previous round did mess that up a bit, so to finish top six would be a good overall finishing position."