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Oct 17, 2012

Sykes Fastest During World Superbike Testing At Motorland Aragon

Tom Sykes' Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike.
Sykes And His Official Ninja ZX-10R Lead Aragon Test Times

Newsflash, 17 October 2012

KRT Superbike World Championship riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz got their 2013 testing plans underway early with a three day session at the Motorland Aragon circuit in sunny but often windy conditions

The primary reasons for the test, held between 15 and 17 October, was to try out the 17-inch aluminium wheels and new Pirelli control tyres that will be the regulations sizes for the 2013 season, which gets underway in Australia at the end of February next. The new season effectively began during this Aragon test, however, with the team running special winter test logos and all-black bodywork.

Sykes was quickest of all the riders on show, with Max Biaggi 0.2 seconds behind. Were it not for high winds down the main straight on the final day, Sykes would probably have improved on his best time of the test, a 1'57.6.

For Baz, Aragon has never ranked as one of his favourite circuits, but this time around he unlocked a few secrets about how to set a strong lap around the undulating circuit, build to on grand scale. Loris set a best lap time of 1'58.5 despite having suffered a heavy crash at the final round of the 2012 championship, on October 7.

The next test for the team is once more in Spain, in Valencia, at the end of October.

Tom Sykes: "Fastest again and that is all well and good but that is not the aim at the moment. Our aim is to improve on what we have done with the bike this year, and we have done that here, so overall I am happy. The 17 inch tyres seem to work well for me and the Ninja ZX-10R, so that is positive. We have a lot of information and we have more tests planned, to we will keep working in a good direction. We used race tyres to set our fastest times and we tried both the SC1 and SC2 compounds, on the front and the rear. The track was a bit greasy this afternoon but we were still able to do nice lap times with the softer tyres. It looks like Pirelli have done a good job with the 17-inch tyres so we are definitely at a good starting point."

Loris Baz: "In the end it was a good test and I set a 1'58.5 lap. I could not improve on that because this afternoon the track was slower, and the winds had picked up, and I was also very tired. When I came here I was still not 100% after my big crash at Magny-Cours, but I was OK. We did a lot of laps, something like 60 on the first day, 70 on the second day and 70 today. We tried a lot of things and I really like the 17-inch tyres, which is the most important thing we tried out for our preparation for next year. I am really happy after this test."

Guim Roda, Team Manager, Kawasaki Racing Team: "Thanks again for a big effort from the team and from everybody involved. To start working towards 2013 just one week or so after the end of the previous season shows the commitment of everyone. We received some new parts from Japan for this test so they are working hard there too. The important idea that we are trying to explain to everyone is that we have finished with the 2012 season already and we have created a new livery on the bike to show that we are now working for 2013. So for us 2013 has already started. We are 100% focused on the new year of racing. As well as this, I would like to say thanks for a good job from the riders, Tom and Loris, who have been testing parts and developing their bikes with their crew chiefs Marcel and Pere. We will be out to improve the bikes again at the next tests in Valencia, at the end of October."

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:


Aragon (Spain), Wednesday 17th October 2012: the Althea Racing team and Ducati are pleased with the progress that riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano have made on board the new 1199 Panigale Superbike during a three-day test session at Motorland Aragon.

Checa and Giugliano took to the track on Monday where in cool and very windy conditions, totally the opposite of the extreme heat experienced during the July race, they continued with the work that they had begun a couple of weeks ago during testing at Misano. Carlos, whose 40th birthday coincided with Monday's test, recorded some interesting lap times while Davide spent time testing a new fork.

On the second and third track days (in more settled and dry conditions) the Althea men continued to work with their technicians and Ducati development personnel, gaining confidence with each exit. Davide suffered a small crash on Tuesday but was fortunately unhurt and able to return to the track almost immediately. As well as the new tyres, the team spent time testing various new components relating to suspension, setting and forks.

By making a series of changes throughout the three days the team was able to better understand how the bike reacts and identify the best direction to take as a result. At this point of development it is essential that the riders begin to understand the bike and that the bike is adapted to the needs and style of each rider.

On track along with several other SBK teams, Ducati's technicians were able to compare the 1199 Panigale's performance to that of its rivals for the first time and have declared themselves satisfied with the work completed thus far, although there is still a lot to do over coming months. The winter testing programme will continue next month in Jerez, Spain.

Carlos Checa:
"My impression is positive. We're still a little way off in terms of times but we are here to work on the bike and try things out to better understand what is missing and what we need to go faster. This is all a normal part of development work. The 1199 Panigale is an extreme bike and the riding style needed is different too. We are at the start of the journey; we're still in the first phase and still have a lot of work ahead of us. The 17" tyres are working well once the track is up to temperature and conditions have allowed us to get a lot of laps in during yesterday and today the data collected will be useful as we move forward."

Davide Giugliano:
"We have tried many things over these last days and I am working hard to find my way with the new bike. The Aragon track is very different to Misano where we carried out the last tests and I've had a bit of trouble going from one to the other because of those differences. I would say that we can be satisfied with what we've got done here and we have a good base from which to progress."
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