Tom Sykes and Loris Baz were both out on track for a two-day testing session at Jerez between 30 and 31 October, working with their crews on machine developments for their attack on the 2014 season.
In fair weather conditions the recently crowned SBK world champion Sykes completed around 160 laps of the intense Jerez circuit on his Ninja ZX-10R. This was the second time he has tested in readiness for the coming season since his 2013 World Championship win on Sunday 20th October.
Baz continued to regain fitness and pace after a long layoff due to injury, with Loris also having tested shortly after the end of the season, again at Jerez. Concentrating his efforts on machine set-up over both days, Loris experienced a slow speed get-off this morning. After great set-up work from his team constant improvements were found from then on, with Loris ending the tests happy and ready to ride again at Motorland Aragon in two weeks’ time.
Great weather conditions on each day allowed the whole KRT team to get through the programme of planned work. Both riders also posted strong lap times despite running race tyres and working on race set-ups on the Ninja ZX-10R, which ran in the now traditional black and white winter tests colours. Tom set a best lap of 1’40.4 while Loris posted a 1’41.2.
Tom Sykes: “This two-day test has been very good and I happy with the way it has gone. We have improved the feel of the Ninja ZX-10R and I am definitely much more comfortable with it. I am leaving the tests in very good spirits because we completed lots of laps and got a lot of work done. We have definitely done our fair share of testing! I have to give big credit to all our guys because they have been working flat out at these tests again. I am leaving these sessions happy and motivated. If I were to race again tomorrow I would feel more confident and in general I feel better and more relaxed on my bike, especially over race distance. Lap times have not been our focus but we have been running some very good lap times here on race tyres. It has been very positive, so I will travel back home a happy man.”
Loris Baz: “This was quite a big test for me although I did not do as many laps as Tom. I wanted to take care with my back because it is still not quite 100% yet. It went really well and the weather gave us some really good conditions to work in. I also like the track so it is always good to ride here. I did, I think, 60 laps yesterday and maybe 50 to 55 today. It went well today because I think I was maybe a little too aggressive on the bike on the first day. This morning I had a very slow crash, but I made some good progress this afternoon because we tried good things in many areas. We made a big step compared to last year here and I am very confident for the next tests – and we have quite a few tests to do this winter!”
Marcel Duinker: Tom Sykes’ Crew Chief: “Our tests were good. During the second part of last year we understood there were some areas we wanted to work in but with time so short in race weekends, and a championship to fight for, we did not really have the opportunity to do it. This is what these kinds of winter tests are for. We had some good reference points from the recent race weekend at Jerez and in the steps we have made with the bike there were improvements, even on the first day. Today we made more of a function test of some new material and we found some clear benefits.”
Pere Riba: Loris Baz’ Crew Chief: “We used this test well. We did not make a lot of laps but we just concentrated on the new parts we have for next year, to understand the feeling with them and make clear which direction we should go in. We just tried to understand the changes we made with each new part and it went well; very positive. We did not want to make too many laps and ask too much effort of Loris, who until recently did not ride for two months. Even when he was tired at the end of today he understood many points and he was fast, setting good lap times and gaining confidence. We did not focus on the best set-up to find a quick lap because these winter tests are the time to test new things and understand which ones to go ahead with. Then you can go more deeply into the set-up side. That is why I am happy, because although we did not concentrate on lap times the lap times were good.”