Kawasaki Dream Team in good spiritsPOSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 10 February 2016
KAWASAKI’S dream team of reigning champion Jonathan Rea and predecessor Tom Sykes completed the final European test of their pre-season preparations at Motorland Aragon in Spain by finding further improvements in the set-up of the new Ninja ZX-10R as the first round of the 2016 season looms on the horizon.
High winds stalled the first day of the test but they made the most of their window of opportunity on Tuesday to finalise their personal choices of machine set-up – and compare the most recent data collected at their previous test at Jerez de la Frontera last week.
The team staff used the first day at Motorland to build the final spec of 2016 WorldSBK racing machinery; using materials freshly arrived from KHI in Japan.
Sykes was pleased to be at the same best pace he recorded in the 2015 race weekend, after finding improvements from the recent Jerez test sessions. Rea was feeling unwell but showed good form as he finalised settings to his engine’s overall character and fine-tuned his suspension.
Other Kawasaki teams were also present at Motorland, with optimism high for all at the prospects for not only the WorldSBK riders, but also the STK1000 competitors, who will be running the new Ninja ZX-10R machine close to standard specification.
There will be an official two-day test for all WorldSBK runners prior to the opening race weekend of the year in Australia starting on Feb 22.
Rea (main pic) kicks off the bid to defend his title at the end of the month, scene of his first victory last year, when 2016’s first WorldSBK weekends gets underway in Victoria, south of Melbourne.
“We tried out different spec front forks and rear shocks and we changed the engine character a little bit.
“We will have two good days on track in Phillip Island, which gives us more time before the races start. I am excited to go there because I have good memories from last year – but it also feels like home.”
Sykes (above) said his focus was on the package rather than just performance.
“We had a good test, short but very productive. We focused on some fundamental things and not on performance. We had to do a couple of things for Pirelli, for their information, and I am really happy how things went.”
Malaysian interest will be provided by former Moto3 rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin who will be competing in the Supersport (600cc) championship.