Kawasaki WSBK duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes completed a two-day test at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain with both riders describing their experience of the new 2016 ZX-10R as positive.
After trying out some new model components at a one-day Jerez test last September, shortly after winning the Riders’ Championship, Rea did some comparative testing between the 2015 and 2016 machinery at the beginning of this test, before switching his efforts and focussing solely on the full 2016 machine.
The newly crowned WSBK champion set a fastest lap of 1’40.6 on the 2016 bike, which is the full WorldSBK spec race version of the new 2016 showroom model, recently unveiled to the world in Spain. He completed 114 laps in total.
Rea said: “Honestly, testing is not my favourite part of the job but it has been necessary to make a really constant effort because Kawasaki has brought many new components for the 2016 bike. It has quite a different character from last season so we had to evaluate many things. The main thing was the chassis balance of the bike and we have some positives from that. The engine character is quite different to the 2015 bike as well so we have been working with the electronics to maximise that and make it suit my style. We got through the vast majority of the test items and we are happy because we were able to lap a lot faster than we did during race weekend, with a similar temperature. So that is encouraging.”
Pere Riba, Jonathan Rea’s Crew Chief, was equally buoyant. He said: “We started with a mix between the 2015 and 2016 machines to start to follow the programme of understanding the good points from 2015 and the good points for 2016. Then, after some laps going out and in, we changed to the 2016 bike and we started to focus on that programme.
“There is quite a lot of difference on the engine side because there is a different inertia and other details in the engine. Also, the 2016 chassis so it is essentially a new bike. Because of this we have to understand every single change we make in the set-up of the engine and chassis. We are really happy with the results because we reached nearly 90% of the items we wanted to test. We improved the feeling of the bike for Jonathan step by step and at the same time the lap time was good. On race tyres we did a kind of simulation and the race times were already much faster compared to the fastest race at Jerez this year.”
Sykes also tried both 2015 and 2016 components and machinery at this test but ended up with a more or less complete 2016 set-up in readiness for the next test for the team, to be held at Motorland Aragon between 16 and 17 November.