After a week of testing at Jerez in Spain Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes set impressive lap times as they shared the circuit with some of the main 2017 rivals and several top MotoGP runners. Riding the 2017-spec Ninja ZX-10RR, Rea set the fastest individual lap time of the tests on a dry track on Thursday, with Sykes the third fastest WorldSBK rider and the fifth fastest rider overall.
The Jerez test featured three dry days in the middle of the week, bracketed by two wet days on Monday and Friday. Neither of the riders took to the track on Friday 25, as conditions had deteriorated so much. Rea left Jerez with a track best of 1’38.721 while using a qualifying rear tyre, with Sykes setting a 1’39.461, again on a ‘Q’ rear tyre. Rea was even more pleased with the 1’39.5 lap time he set on race tyres than his best-of-test flying lap of 1’38.721.
Rea had completed his pre-planned schedule by Thursday afternoon but a crash for Sykes earlier the same day lost him some track time just as his crew had fitted all the most promising new parts and settings to his number one machine. He still managed to complete a fast lap time on his spare machine and enjoyed consistent pace over distance.
Rea, stated: “It has been a very successful test with three days of very consistent weather. We also got a morning of wet conditions in which we confirmed a few things, especially a new Showa rear shock.
“We did two race simulations on Thursday that we were very happy with. We can go into the winter in great shape and with a lot of confidence for next season. Having the new Ninja ZX-10RR has let us fix some of our weaker points, as our engine is a little bit stronger than before, with some extra RPM. That is always an added bonus. We can be optimistic for 2017.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Always in the winter time we try to follow all the items we have that Japan has prepared. Chassis engine, suspension, everything. We focused not to set the bike up for the racetrack; we focused to try out the parts. I know the potential of Kawasaki as a manufacturer, Johnny, the team, everybody, but still it has been so positive here. With a Q tyre we made a big, big step forward. With a race tyre our target was to improve the durability in the second part of the race. It seems like we have made another step. I can say that we reached our targets for the first part of the winter tests. We are very pleased to be in the shape that we are in and with all the information we have.”
A break in track action now begins for the team, with the winter test schedule restarting at Jerez in January 2017.