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Oct 30, 2010

Updated: More From The World Superbike Test At Motorland Aragon

Max Biaggi (3).
Alcaniz, 30 October 2010 In view of the 2011 season, which will see the Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team defending two world championships, the first test session on the Aragon Motorland track was held yesterday. The Spanish track will be a new stop on the 2011 schedule: it was therefore quite important to "take measurements" of what will certainly be a demanding round.

Max Biaggi, reigning World Champion, worked with consistency alongside the Aprilia technicians, perfecting his performance thus far to stop the clock with the best time of the session at 1'58".0.

For Leon Camier this was a return to the saddle after his wrist injury, which kept him off the tracks in the last races of the season which just ended.

So the English rider had to re-familiarise himself with the RSV4, but this didn't stop him from landing the fifth best time at 1'59".2.

Max Biaggi stated: "After a splendid and tiring 2010 season, it's time to sharpen our claws for the next championship. Considering the results, it looks like we are the team to beat and that puts a double responsibility on our shoulders. Precisely for this reason we must continue to work non-stop, as we have during these three days of tests on a track which we'll face for the first time next year. The track is very nice, modern but not monotonous, and it has some sections which will really be able to make a difference. I'm happy to be back on the track after the last race in France, we made the best time, it seems like we're off to a good start for now."

"Finally riding again! was Leon Camier's comment After my injury and too many days off the bike, this is just what I needed. The wrist is OK, and that's good news, even if it started to hurt a bit at the end of the session. I was also able to be quite quick on this really fun and demanding track, above all thanks to some promising progress with the electronics. Now all that's left is to pick up our work where we left off, continuing to improve each time we take to the track: I'm convinced that we won't have to wait long to see positive results."

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Test Sessions Complete At Aragon

After three days of track action at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain the official Kawasaki Racing Team has made further progress with the all-new Ninja ZX-10R.

Team regular Tom Sykes and test rider Katsuaki Fujiwara lapped at a good pace throughout, with Sykes making great strides in terms of lap times and machine set-up, while Fujiwara tried out some new parts to continue the development curve of the all-new Ninja ZX-10R. Aragon is a new circuit on the 2011 Championship trail, which made this test a doubly useful one for the official team.

Sykes set a personal best lap on the final day, a 1'58.5, which put him just about half a second from the fastest rider. That was a more than encouraging result given that the new Kawasaki still has lots of potential to be unleashed in full WSBK race trim.

Tom's fellow official Kawasaki WSBK riders for the 2011 season, Chris Vermeulen and Joan Lascorz, were interested spectators at the test, as each continues on their personal trail towards full race fitness.

Tom Sykes: "We were pleased with the test and to be this close to the front at this stage was promising. Overall we had a good understanding of the complete package and we got through quite a few things. Finding a good base setting was the main objective, but at the end we also tried something a bit different on the bike, and again found quite a significant improvement. Overall, I am very pleased with the way things went."

Paul Risbridger: Team Manager: "We got through everything we wanted to try. Tom and Katsuaki each did good work, with Tom doing more set-up work in readiness for the season, and Katsuaki trying some new general development parts. The lap times were particularly good for Tom, and we recorded him setting a 1'58.5, which is very competitive. The track conditions were reasonably consistent for us and we were really encouraged by the results of this test."

In the Supersport class, the Kawasaki Provec pairing of Broc Parkes and new signing David Salom pushed on with the task of tailoring their machine settings to their own riding styles, while learning a new circuit.

More winter testing on the Ninja ZX-6R is planned for both Broc and David, as they make their preparations for a full-on assault on the championship in 2011.

Broc Parkes: "I rode on the first and final days of the test, and David rode on the second day. This was a really good opportunity to test at a new circuit that we will be racing on next year. We also wanted to work on a few things that we do not normally get to try during the season. It went pretty well and we did what we needed to do by the end of the test. We were not that concerned about lap times; it was much more important to learn the new track and find good settings."

More, from a press release issued by Troy Corser's publicist:

Troy ended the three day test at Motorland Aragon pretty satisfied about what he and the team had got through and the information he provided for them to consider. He spent almost all the time on a 2011 spec bike and and only used a 2010 bike for about ten laps on the final day.

The 5.344 kilometre Aragon track is a new one on the calendar and has only been recently built. It is technically demanding and features many changes of elevation and requires a lot of learning and understanding. During these tests the surface was quite abrasive and Troy and all the other riders had a hard job making their rear tyres last more than about seven or eight laps.

I'm pretty happy with what we've gone through these three days and I know I have given the boys a lot of information and feedback about the 2011 bike. Now it's up to them to sit down, analyse all the data and put it to good use. At the moment the 2011 bike's engine feels bit too aggressive and we've been working on making it a bit smoother. There's definitely a bit more rpm at the top end, and a bit more torque, and we have been trying different things to make it a bit easier to ride. The balance of the bike has been changed a bit and we've working on getting more grip from the bike - though that's been a bit of a problem because the track here has been chewing up rear tyres. It's not just us, everybody else is in the same boat, but when we come here to race next year, it's going to be an awful lot hotter and we might not have the same scenario.

The track is pretty technical and - because of a couple of blind corners - a bit like Portimao. Learning it is not so bad, but it has been definitely useful testing here because seeing the track for the first time in a race weekend would be hard work for sure. The other problem here (and maybe one that contributed to our tyre problems) is that it is very cold at night and first thing in the morning. At 10.00 am, the track temperature has often been less than 10 C and it's difficult to get any tyres to work when it's that cold. Fortunately it does warm up during the day and we can go out and do some work, but the most important thing is that we have learnt a new track and also done a lot of work on the 2011 bike.

I'm a bit disappointed that we're not using the same layout as MotoGP do because it would've been interesting to compare the lap times. Having said that, I don't think we'd got very close to their times because this track is so long. The corner that we have to use at the end of the long back straight is a real first gear turn and its hard because we have to slow from 315 kph right down to about 50 kph just to make the turn. Also we are seven seconds on the brakes and that's the longest time on the brakes than any other circuit we race at.

It's s busy time for me over the next few weeks. I will be going to the Milan Show, and then there's a bit of time off before I go to the team's race headquarters and take part in a fitness camp - a bit like the one I did last year in Italy. Then I go straight from that to Jerez for tests, followed by a couple of days off and then on to tests in Portimao. By the time Christmas comes, I'll be ready for a break! But let's get the next two tests out of the way and hopefully I'll be able to go 'down under' with a bike ready to race next season.
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