• Welcome to the new B.I.R.D. Forum. Please be sure to read the "New Member / New Registered ? Please Read" thread in the Coffee Shop. This contains some important information. To become a full member ( £5.50 a year ) simply click on your user name near the top on the right I hope you enjoy the new site ................ Jaws ( John )

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KUCIAR666

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Tom Sykes aboard Ninja ZX-10R again for 2012

N?rburgring race winner Tom Sykes has signed to ride for the official
Kawasaki Racing Team in 2012, joining existing rider Joan Lascorz.
Tom Sykes aboard Ninja ZX-10R again for 2012
Sykes, who has been an official Kawasaki rider for the past two seasons and a key figure in the development of the current Ninja ZX-10R racebike, has already won a world championship race for Kawasaki, at the German WSBK round in early September.

Lascorz and Sykes had their first test in preparation for the 2012 season at Portimao on Tuesday 18th October, only two days after the end of the 2011 campaign, and it was a test that turned out well for both riders.

The team?s European logistical base will be in Spain but with overall control coming direct from Japan, as the Superbike World Championship programme is a full Kawasaki Heavy Industries project.

Tom Sykes: ?I?m very happy to be continuing with Kawasaki and the Ninja ZX-10R in 2012. I believe the bike has good potential and we saw some of that come through in 2011 with a race win in Germany and superpole at Misano. These are the kind of results I am looking to achieve in the coming season on a regular basis and I really believe we can do this. I have a lot of confidence in Kawasaki and the team around me, so if we can improve a couple of points with the set-up of the bike on the track which I feel are restricting performance this would be a big step forward for us in the final results. I am looking forward to re-starting our test programme again very soon.?

Guim Roda, Team Manager: ?We are very happy to run with Tom in 2012. Kawasaki always tries to keep the people it has in place and Tom has been making a good job in the last two years with Kawasaki. He has the potential to go fast, as he has shown in 2011, and now we have to repeat that for full race distance at each round. He is young and determined, which are good combinations for a fast rider. I'm sure working closer with Marcel, his new crew chief, and taking part in all the tests we have planned means he will take one step more and he will be able to fight for the podium places at every race. Let?s see what he can show us all next year."


Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki Europe Race Planning Manager: ?It's great that Tom's with us again for 2012 in the World Superbike Championship. He's worked hard within the project over the past two years and has always dug deep when it mattered to give us our first pole and race win with the new Ninja ZX-10R. PBM had good insight to hold onto him this year as part of the three-rider team and now Tom has justifiably been rewarded with a full KHI factory rider contract for next year and being part our new WSB project. With a year under his belt on the new bike and a strong test plan being coordinated from Japan, I'm sure we will get to see Tom on the top step of that podium far more regularly in 2012.?
 

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Kawasaki Racing Team Riders Complete 2011 Testing Programme

After two winter test sessions in Spain, at Aragon and more recently Valencia, KRT riders Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz enter the enforced winter break in good spirits after posting strong performances.
Kawasaki Racing Team Riders Complete 2011 Testing Programme
The three-day Valencia test finished on Wednesday 30th November, just before the new testing ban kicks in for all WSBK teams. Sykes, using race tyres, set a best lap of 1?33.1s, which is a tenth or so faster than the best Superpole lap ever recorded at the former WSBK venue.

Overhead conditions on the first day at Valencia started out cloudy but the afternoon and the final two days provided good track conditions, allowing both Sykes and Lascorz to make improvements that saw them set consistently strong lap times, whether on fresh race rubber or nearing the end of a long run.

There were many developments to the race-winning Ninja ZX-10R for both riders to test, including suspension, linkages, electronics, chassis geometry and the latest ride-by-wire system.

With more direct control of the entire KRT Superbike World Championship project once more evident at these tests, there were several Japanese engineers in the pit garages as all the team-members refined their working methods and strategies.

After the test ban is lifted in mid January the team will take to the track once more in Spain, at Almeria, to make further steps down the road toward the start of the new WSBK season. The 14-round/28-race campaign commences at Phillip Island in Australia on 26 February 2012.

Tom Sykes: ?The tests went well and we ended up doing a 1?33.1 lap time on a race tyre. We have worked through a lot of different things, we are working well in the garage and I am relaxed. It is no secret that when I?m relaxed I work my best. We have had some good weather - consistent weather - in Valencia and that made it better to work through all we needed to do. We have a new electronics package and found a better overall machine balance for me. We also went well at Aragon even though we only really had half a good day there, because of weather and some car tyre rubber laid on the track surface. Once the conditions improved it took us only four outings of four laps each to beat the kind of lap times I set at the race last summer. Right now we are on a package that we have not changed so much between the two tests. We have a fairly good base setting that works for race distance and, when we put new tyres in, for a fast lap time as well. I think we have come a long way even since the post-season Portimao test. The bike tells me what it is doing quite a lot better than before, and the improved feedback tells me when I am arriving at the limit.?

Joan Lascorz:
?I am very happy the way the test went because I set good lap times and I was very happy with the performance of the bike and the team. We made a lot of changes to the bike, changed a lot of general settings and worked on the suspension. Some are now much different from last year. All the staff worked well together again. I think I learned most from this test in terms of finding out more about our latest machine settings and then finding a more consistent good pace. These things should allow us to challenge closer to the top in 2012. Tom was very fast and we both worked well with race tyres.?
 

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Rea and Aoyama head for Phillip Island Superbike test

Rea and Aoyama head for Phillip Island Superbike test
Honda?s new World Superbike Championship pairing of Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama kick off their preparations for the 2012 season with a three-day test at Phillip Island in Australia this week (17-19 January).

The team will be running the SBK race specification 2012 CBR1000RR Fireblade for the first time since the 20th anniversary version of Honda?s iconic sports machine was launched last September.

The team will start its 2012 campaign boosted by news that, following a year as title sponsor, Castrol will remain as a key secondary partner until the end of the 2013 season.

The global lubricants manufacturer used Honda?s World Superbike effort as part of a worldwide marketing campaign to re-launch its Power 1 brand in 2011. Its continued support of the team extends a commercial and technical partnership between Honda and Castrol which dates back to 1959, when the Japanese manufacturer first started world championship racing.

Robert Watherston, motorcycle racing manager at Honda Motor Europe, said: ?We?re delighted that Castrol has decided to continue its long-standing association with Honda and, in particular, our World Superbike campaign. We are especially please to have signed a two-year agreement, which takes us to the end of the 2013 season.?

Donald Smith, sponsorship manager in Castrol's Global Marketing Unit commented: ?We are pleased to confirm the continuation of our long-standing relationship and support of Honda and motorcycle racing. World Superbikes is the ideal proving ground for the development of our advanced range of Castrol Power 1 lubricants and we look forward to the future of our continued relationship with Honda.?
 

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Team Pedercini Kawasaki signs riders for 2012 WSBK season
Newsflash, 17 January 2012

The Pedercini Team is pleased to announce that it has decided on its riders for the 2012 World Superbike Championship season: Spaniard David Salom and Argentinean Leandro ?Tati? Mercado.
Team Pedercini Kawasaki signs riders for 2012 WSBK season
Both riders will be on track with the Pedercini Team from the next Phillip Island test that will take place on February 13,14 and 15th February and obviously also to the official test of 20 and 21st, a week before the opening World Superbike Championship round, to be held at the same track.

David Salom was born on 16th October 1984 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He won the Spanish Supersport championship in 2006 and between 2007 and 2009 he participated in the Supersport World Championship. In 2009 David joined the Pedercini Team in the Superbike World Championship. In 2010 Salom returned to Supersport and last year he
closed that championship in second place with Kawasaki.

Tati Mercado was born on 15th February 1992 in Jesus Maria, Cordoba, Argentina. He won the AMA Supersport championship in 2009 and the following year he participated in the Superstock 600 European championship. In 2011 Tati joined the Pedercini team, competing in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and Stock 1000 Italian Championship.
The entire team is happy to see the return of both riders. Salom and Mercado already know all the team?s technical staff and this will help both the riders and the team as they prepare for the upcoming season which opens at the end of February in Australia.

Donato Pedercini: ?I?m extremely satisfied with the agreement reached with David Salom and Tati Mercado and I?m very happy to have the possibility to work with them again during the 2012 World Superbike championship. I know both of them very well and I appreciated their riding qualities and determination. Mercado is young and talented. He?s full of enthusiasm and has a real passion for racing. I think he?ll be the youngest Superbike rider this year and we will do our best to help him to adapt to our Kawasaki Superbike. Salom is still young but already has some experience. He?s strongly motivated
and is on our wavelength in terms of projects and targets. We are now working hard to be ready for the first test in Phillip Island and also for the first races of the season. We are expecting a very busy season but one full of great professional satisfaction.?

David Salom: ?I'm very happy to say that I will join the Pedercini Team for the 2012 World Superbike championship. I know all the Pedercini team and they are professional, enthusiastic and ambitious. I want to thank the Pedercini family as they are giving me the opportunity to compete once again in the World Superbike category. I?m really looking forward to this new adventure, as staying on a Kawasaki motorcycle was very important to me. I know that, compared with 2009, the bike is now more competitive and the team also has more experience so I can't wait to get started!?

Leandro ?Tati? Mercado: ?I am really happy to have made this choice and proud to be competing with Team Pedercini in World Superbike. Right from the start of my career, I always considered Superbike to be the premier class and my main goal. I am honoured to remain a part of this fantastic group of people and to be joining them as part of an ambitious project. I?m also very happy to have David Salom as a teammate. I know he?s an expert rider and I?m sure he?ll help me as I start this new adventure in such a difficult world championship. I?ll do my best to pay back the faith Pedercini family have shown in
me with some good results and technical development.?
 

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Rea and Aoyama get 2012 season underway at Phillip Island
Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama have completed a three-day test at Phillip Island in Australia in preparation for the 2012 World Superbike championship, which opens at the same circuit on 26 February.

The Honda duo took advantage of warm, dry weather at the picturesque 4.5km circuit two hours south of Melbourne to test the 2012 version of the CBR1000RR Fireblade ? the 20th anniversary variant of Honda?s iconic sportsbike.
The team took a host of new chassis and suspension components to test in Australia and continued the development of its electronic ride-by-wire throttle system introduced in the second half of the 2011 World Superbike campaign.
Rea starts his fourth season on the Fireblade and, following an injury-blighted 2011, the 24-year-old Northern Irishman is looking forward to a consistent title challenge this year. For 2012 he is partnered by Japanese ace Hiroshi Aoyama, 30, the 2009 World 250cc champion, who joins the World Superbike team following two years as a Honda MotoGP rider.



While no lap times were released by the team, manager Ronald ten Kate declared himself very satisfied with the development of the new machine. The team will return to Phillip Island for a two-day official test on 20-21 February before the opening round of the 2012 championship.
Jonathan Rea

We?ve had a good three days, completed a lot of laps and tested a whole heap of new parts. We?ve also done quite a few long runs and race simulations which, to be honest, was really good ? for the simulation we did today, we even used the lights! The full race-run allows us to see exactly where we are, even though the disadvantage of testing on your own is that you?ve got no-one to measure yourself against. But the whole team is working really well and I?m really enjoying riding the bike again. Step-by-step we?re making things better and, although when you test this many parts you can end up going round in circles, I think we?ve got a bike with a good base setting to go into the 2012 season with.

Hiroshi Aoyama

I?ve really enjoyed the first test of the season on the new 2012 bike. I had some good feelings from the test in Qatar in December, but the feeling here at Phillip Island was quite different. We had to do a lot of work on the first two days but I learned a lot and on each day the feeling got better. We did a race simulation today and it was very interesting to experience the deterioration of the tyre. We need to make some more steps and, if we can do that, it?ll be an exciting race next month! For sure, I need to ride a lot more to try to learn the bike and the tyres because everything is still very new. I?m sure I will need a couple of races to get familiar with everything.

Ronald ten Kate ? team manager

We had high track temperatures here, which is something we struggled with during last year?s event, so it was a very useful test. The new chassis and suspension parts that we brought here were all working well and we were able to reconfirm some of the parts we tested before. The overall package as part of the 2012 Fireblade is definitely a step forward and the new fairing has improved stability. It was properly tested too, because there was a strong wind coming up the straight on the first day! With both riders, the bike has been able to give them a single fast lap time, but the race simulations we did today were also encouraging. We can pack up tonight with a good feeling and we still have another month to come up with some more ideas back at the workshop. But, honestly, we couldn?t have wished for more from this test.



A short video of the test is available to view or embed at:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVnwb7u7RZ4
 

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Kawasaki Racing Team Gets 2012 Season Underway With Test At Almeria
Newsflash, 20 January 2012

Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes joined forces in the new-look Kawasaki Racing Team FIM Superbike World Championship squad for a first 2012 test at Almeria in Spain, on 19 and 20 January.
Kawasaki Racing Team Gets 2012 Season Underway With Test At Almeria
The new initiative of a long winter test ban (brought in by the series organisers this season) has only recently ended and therefore the Almeria sessions gave the whole KRT effort an opportunity to get back together and enjoy some some valuable track time with the Ninja ZX-10R.

Sykes left with the best lap time, a 1 minute 34.6 seconds, while Lascorz took a 1?35.1s. Overnight temperatures fell to near freezing point but track conditions once the sun had come up each day were such that the riders and technical staff had a great chance to work through the many set-up options on the latest race version of the Ninja ZX-10R.

The team will now take their optimum material and set-up data to the awesome Phillip Island circuit in Australia for two separate test sessions before the opening race weekend of the season. The first of 14 rounds will take place there between 24 and 26 February.

Tom Sykes:
?It went very well because we arrived at another kind of circuit compared to the ones we have tested at before and the bike worked well straight away. After a big winter lay off it only took me ten laps to go faster than I have ever been at Almeria. I was happy with that. After that it was a case of testing some small items we had requested from KHI. It was consistently around 15 degrees in terms of track temperature and the sun was shining, so we could not ask for any more in January. The track was in good condition as well, just a bit dusty off line.?

Joan Lascorz: ?We tested everything! It was cold in the mornings at Almeria but the track conditions were good and it was sunny each day, but there was some snow in the mountains around the track. This is the last test before we go to Australia so we decided the final direction of the machine set-up to take there and, in general, for the rest of the season. Tom and I have very a different machine set-up now but it is just to suit our different riding styles. The most important thing is that the difference between the fastest riders and the others in the races is that they get the tyres to last for the whole race distance. This is the most important thing.?
 

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Baz Joins Sykes To Complete KRT?s 2013 SBK Rider Line Up

Loris Baz will join Tom Sykes in the official Kawasaki Racing Team once more next year with both current official KRT riders returning to compete in the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship season.
Baz Joins Sykes To Complete KRT?s 2013 SBK Rider Line Up
Baz, the Superstock 600 European Champion in 2008, joined the team this year after regular rider Joan Lascorz was injured in testing and since then has made improvements throughout the season. These have culminated in three podiums - includings one race win - and one fastest lap in his rookie SBK season on the Ninja ZX-10R. He also scored a podium for Kawasaki in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup class he started the season in.

Remarkable as it seems for a rider with such strong results under his belt, Baz is still a teenager and will only turn 20 years of age shortly before next season kicks off for real, in Australia in late February 2013. His youth and obvious talent, plus his ability to learn and develop, were key elements in the official Kawasaki team?s decision to retain him for the 2013 season.

Loris Baz: ?I am really happy, as you can imagine! Since I first got on the official Kawasaki Racing Team bike I have done everything I could to stay for the future. I think it is one of the best bikes and best teams so I did not want to go anywhere else. To stay in this team was the best for me. We have a really good base and I want to be strong for next year. I have to thank Guim Roda, my team manager, for taking me in the first place ? a young rider on an official bike ? and I also have to thank Kawasaki, who also believed in me. After the end of last year, when I had nothing, they asked me to ride in Superstock. I saw it as a new challenge and a new beginning. So I am really happy to ride for Kawasaki again and I cannot wait for next year.?

Tom Sykes: ?I think Loris is a very good signing. He is a young, very exciting, rider and he has potential. For me it is good in that we can fully focus on what we have been doing so far, bringing the Ninja ZX-10R up to speed. I think it is very vitally important to keep focused on what we have done. I think Kawasaki, the team and all of us are smart enough to realise that keeping continuity is good. The team are fantastic, many of them are new to Superbike this year and all of them are doing a great job. I think it is all positive for 2013.?

Steve Guttridge: KME European Race Planning Manager:
?We are really excited to announce that Loris will remain with the official KRT factory team for 2013. He has done a marvellous job this year after he stood in for our injured rider Joan Lascorz. We are happy to give him this full opportunity in 2013 to let him grow into the role, along with the team and Tom Sykes his team-mate. He has so much potential; he has absorbed everything and followed our remit to keep calm but also get good results. He is already a race winner and he can only grow up as a new generation of rider coming into the Superbike World Championship. We are realistic and expect him to keep growing up and be a good team-mate to Tom.?

Ichiro Yoda: KHI Racing Manager: ?Loris is very young and had already won a race in the rain, and had other podiums. He has potential and we would like to help educate him and maybe for the future he is top rider in Superbike. We felt this so that is why we would like to work with him. Also a rider needs some luck and it looks like he carries some good luck! At 19 years of age in his first year in the world championship he has won a race, so he must have a good luck and intelligence to do this.?

Guim Roda: Kawasaki Racing Team Manager:
?When we took out Loris from the Superstock project and brought him into the Superbike team it was because we believed in his potential. It was not just to finish the year. We worked with him to confirm the potential and his way of working. We saw that he was a good prospect for the future so from the beginning we had, more or less, a clear idea and he just confirmed our expectations. He has demonstrated his abilities and has won a race already so Kawasaki wanted to reward his efforts with a ride next year.?
 

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Jack Valentine and Crescent Suzuki part company

The Crescent Suzuki team and Jack Valentine will part company at the end of this year's eni FIM Superbike World Championship season. Valentine joined the Crescent Suzuki British Superbike team in late 2007 as Team Manager, bringing with him over three-decades of professional motorcycle sport experience, including managing his own company, Valmoto Ltd and being in-charge of V&M Racing and the FPR (Foggy Petronas) WSBK Teams.

Last season Valentine was instrumental in bringing former MotoGP ace John Hopkins to the Crescent Suzuki BSB set-up. This year Valentine has led the FIXI backed Crescent Suzuki Superbike team into the world series for its first season as a full-time squad in that championship. He has again used his experience garnered from previous WSB campaigns to guide the team of Hopkins and former BSB champion Leon Camier, as well as a whole crew of mechanics - most of whom were new to the demands of world championship racing - into a podium challenging outfit within its first season.

Jack Valentine declared: "I have enjoyed my five years with the Crescent Suzuki Superbike team and it has been great to work with all the people involved throughout that time and I am obviously sad to be leaving. It has been very good to work with Suzuki, as they have been really supportive of the project during my time here and I want to wish them every success in the future. The whole crew has been great throughout my time in charge and we have had some good times together. I am pleased to be leaving the team in a positive position in World Superbikes and one that I hope they can capitalise on, because after all the hard-work in getting to this position they need to reap the rewards that are due to them. I want to thank all the people that have been involved and made this such a memorable journey for me, there are too many to list, but they will know who they are, I have made some good friends in my five years here and I am sure those relationships will continue. I want to wish the team all the best for 2013 and beyond and I look forward to hopefully taking them on in the future!"

Team Principal Paul Denning will now take over the day-to-day running of the Crescent World Superbike team as it prepares for the 2013 season.
 

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Leon Haslam returns to Honda in Assen test
Leon Haslam rode the Honda World Superbike Team?s CBR1000RR Fireblade in a shakedown test at Assen in the Netherlands yesterday, just three days after completing the 2012 World Superbike championship season at Magny-Cours in France.

The British rider sported the colour scheme of the 2013 road-going version of the CBR that was used by the team at Magny-Cours after being revealed at the Intermot motorcycle show in Cologne, Germany last week.

Haslam, 29, returns to Honda?s CBR machinery after a three-year absence to continue a strong family link to the Japanese manufacturer. With his own 250cc and 500cc GP experience, Haslam, from Derbyshire in the UK, has been racing in the World Superbike championship since 2009 and was runner-up in the 2010 series. He has amassed a total of 28 podium finishes, including three race wins.

No comments or lap times were available from the Assen test, which was primarily to adjust bars and pegs in order to get Haslam comfortable on the CBR. However, he will join new team-mate Jonathan Rea at two tests in Spain next month before a six-week SBK testing ban comes into force on 1 December.
 

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Sykes And His Official Ninja ZX-10R Lead Aragon Test Times

KRT Superbike World Championship riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz got their 2013 testing plans underway early with a three day session at the Motorland Aragon circuit in sunny but often windy conditions
Sykes And His Official Ninja ZX-10R Lead Aragon Test Times
The primary reasons for the test, held between 15 and 17 October, was to try out the 17-inch aluminium wheels and new Pirelli control tyres that will be the regulations sizes for the 2013 season, which gets underway in Australia at the end of February next. The new season effectively began during this Aragon test, however, with the team running special winter test logos and all-black bodywork.

Sykes was quickest of all the riders on show, with Max Biaggi 0.2 seconds behind. Were it not for high winds down the main straight on the final day, Sykes would probably have improved on his best time of the test, a 1?57.6.

For Baz, Aragon has never ranked as one of his favourite circuits, but this time around he unlocked a few secrets about how to set a strong lap around the undulating circuit, build to on grand scale. Loris set a best lap time of 1?58.5 despite having suffered a heavy crash at the final round of the 2012 championship, on October 7.

The next test for the team is once more in Spain, in Valencia, at the end of October.

Tom Sykes: ?Fastest again and that is all well and good but that is not the aim at the moment. Our aim is to improve on what we have done with the bike this year, and we have done that here, so overall I am happy. The 17 inch tyres seem to work well for me and the Ninja ZX-10R, so that is positive. We have a lot of information and we have more tests planned, to we will keep working in a good direction. We used race tyres to set our fastest times and we tried both the SC1 and SC2 compounds, on the front and the rear. The track was a bit greasy this afternoon but we were still able to do nice lap times with the softer tyres. It looks like Pirelli have done a good job with the 17-inch tyres so we are definitely at a good starting point.?

Loris Baz: ?In the end it was a good test and I set a 1?58.5 lap. I could not improve on that because this afternoon the track was slower, and the winds had picked up, and I was also very tired. When I came here I was still not 100% after my big crash at Magny-Cours, but I was OK. We did a lot of laps, something like 60 on the first day, 70 on the second day and 70 today. We tried a lot of things and I really like the 17-inch tyres, which is the most important thing we tried out for our preparation for next year. I am really happy after this test.?

Guim Roda, Team Manager, Kawasaki Racing Team:
?Thanks again for a big effort from the team and from everybody involved. To start working towards 2013 just one week or so after the end of the previous season shows the commitment of everyone. We received some new parts from Japan for this test so they are working hard there too. The important idea that we are trying to explain to everyone is that we have finished with the 2012 season already and we have created a new livery on the bike to show that we are now working for 2013. So for us 2013 has already started. We are 100% focused on the new year of racing. As well as this, I would like to say thanks for a good job from the riders, Tom and Loris, who have been testing parts and developing their bikes with their crew chiefs Marcel and Pere. We will be out to improve the bikes again at the next tests in Valencia, at the end of October.?
 

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Valencia Offers Testing Opportunities For KRT Riders

Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike World Championship duo Tom Sykes and Loris Baz will soon be heading to Valencia for more winter testing, on Monday 29 and Tuesday 20 October.
Valencia Offers Testing Opportunities For KRT Riders
The short and very twisty circuit near the east coast of Spain was once a venue for SBK racing but its multitude of tight corners and compact nature have always made it a favourite test venue for not only Superbike racing, but many motorsport classes.

Since Sykes was last there for testing purposes the circuit has been resurfaced, which will make comparisons with previous test data for Tom and his team slightly more complicated in some regards, although changes to the technical regulations will make more of a difference from previous Valencia tests.

The team is already using the new-for-2013 17-inch alloy wheels, required by regulation, as opposed to the lighter 16.5-inch magnesium wheels used in previous seasons. So far results on the bigger wheel sizes have been very positive, with Sykes fastest of all his peers at a recent test in Aragon.

Teenage rider Baz arrives at Valencia knowing he has made more laps of the track in Spain than any other, in his previous Superstock 1000 and 600 career. Now he looks to this test on his Ninja ZX-10R as an opportunity to make more progress with his machine set-up, and continue to make his impressive transition from Superstock competitor to full SBK factory rider. Already a race-winner in SBK, in the wet at Silverstone, Loris will be hoping for good weather and track conditions at the Valencia tests.

New race-spec machines have just arrived from KHI in Japan, ready to be tested by the riders and fettled by the Spanish-based Kawasaki Racing Team set-up. A full programme of winter testing has been planned to give everybody in the Kawasaki Racing Team the best possible chance of success in the 2013 season.

Tom Sykes: ?Valencia is not a circuit we race at any more and the circuit has also been resurfaced, I am led to believe. So lots of our old information is irrelevant, but we will still be turning the wheels in readiness for 2013 and we have some new things to try. We have the rule change of the 17-inch wheels for the new season so I am sure we will be working to make the package even stronger on 17-inch tyres. We will have the usual suspension tweaks and so on to try, probably the kind of testing we do not like to risk doing during race meetings. I spoke with Guim, my team manager, about the test plans and if we have two days of good weather that is plenty of track time to get up to speed early on day one, then try some things later on and carry that work on to day two. I am just looking forward to getting more track time and it always helps to be able to ride the bike regularly.?

Loris Baz: ?I think we will have a lot of things to try at this test again. I always like to ride at Valencia because I think it is the track I know best in the world, as I did so many laps there on my 600 Superstock bike. It is not a very interesting track on a 1000cc bike, as it is so compact, but it will be good for me as it is a slow track with slow corners, so I can work on my style on the bike. I now feel more relaxed than I did at the end of the season and physically I feel much better than during the Aragon tests.?

Team Manager Guim Roda:
?These two days at Valencia are a kind of pre-test to prepare for the Jerez test we will do later this year. We have just received new bikes from Japan to meet the new 2013 rules about starter motors, and they have a new specification, so we have to check all goes well. We will bring our existing bikes to compare with new versions and some technical staff from KHI are also coming to follow the test and see how their new ?babies? get on. The forthcoming Jerez test will be important because more of our rival teams will be there and between us we can check the performance of the bikes on a new track surface. Loris and Tom are fast riders at Valencia so let's see the feelings we get back from those two days."
 

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KRT Valencia Test Proves To Be A Positive Experience For All

Kawasaki Racing Team pairing Tom Sykes and Loris Baz concluded two days of testing at Valencia yesterday as part of the build up to the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship season.
KRT Valencia Test Proves To Be A Positive Experience For All
The Valencia circuit, tight and intense, with many corners squeezed into a small overall area, was dry for the team on the first day but rains at lunchtime on the second day brought the tests to a premature halt. Despite this, each rider still put in more than 130 laps so the sessions proved to be very worthwhile in a multitude of ways.

The asphalt at Valencia has been resurfaced recently and was smoother than the last visit to the former SBK championship circuit.
As the venue is no longer used for SBK racing it was decided to not carry on testing in wet conditions, with action finishing at around 1pm, as the data gathered would have only very limited relevance. In dry conditions the team believe that the resurfaced track was around 0.5 seconds faster than before after consulting with other teams that were running Spanish championship machinery at the tests.

Tom and Loris consider that for a first shakedown of their new 2013 Ninja ZX-10R race machines the track offered a good opportunity to gain valuable track time, until the rains arrived.

Last year in testing Sykes put in a 1?33.1s lap time at Valencia, and this year, on day one and then again on worn tyres on day two, he set a 1?32.8s best. Baz set a strong 1?33.4s lap time, a good mark considering that fast outright lap times were not the aim of this test in particular. Both riders consider that if the rains had not appeared on the final afternoon then their lap times could have been in the region of 0.5 seconds faster.

The next test outing for the team will be at Motorland Aragon, in mid November, with three days of action scheduled.

Tom Sykes: ?To be honest the lap times came quite comfortably and we had a decent pace on the first day. We only used one set of tyres on the final morning and on lap 15 I equalled my best from day one but then the rains came and we had to stop early. We got some good information to keep moving forward with development of the Ninja ZX-10R. The grip from the new surface at Valencia was good and it was quite a bit smoother than last time but we were sharing the track with smaller bikes which were using different lines in some places, so there were some corners which did not offer the same grip as they used to offer. I am already familiar and comfortable with the 17-inch tyres and they worked well with myself and the Kawasaki around Valencia. They were working fast and consistently. Overall I am happy with that we have been doing so far.?

Loris Baz: ?The test went well, very positive, so it was a pity that the rains came in the afternoon of the second day because we still had some things to try. I think I could have gone maybe even 0.5 seconds faster, I?m sure. I had a good pace straight away on the first day, so I am happy. The evolution of the bike went in a good way so everything is positive.?

Crew Chief Sykes, Marcel Duikers: ?Our test was not quite as long as we expected but it went well. We had the first rollout of the 2013 bikes on day one and right away we had some positive results in terms of lap times. We had some rain on the final day so we decided to stop. We used this as a sort-of shakedown test for the next test at Aragon and the rest of the winter schedule.?

Crew Chief Baz, Pere Riba: ?The test went well even though we did not get two completely dry days. We made progress with the new bikes and the information we gathered, so it was all positive. The new bikes have many small new details but we were just doing a normal development test. The 17-inch tyres are working well and we have found positive points straight away, even with the settings we had from 2012. We are happy with that.?
 

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Winter Tests Continue For KRT Riders

The third winter test for the Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Tom Sykes and Loris Baz gets underway on 14 November at Motorland Aragon in Spain, with each rider out to continue their good recent progress.
Winter Tests Continue For KRT Riders
At the two previous test sessions after the completion of the 2012 season, at Motorland and then more recently in Valencia, the team worked well with the new 17-inch tyres which will become the regulation size for the 2013 season. This aspect of the workload will continue at Aragon once more and new electronics advances are also due to be tried out, aimed at strengthening what is already a highly positive element in the overall makeup of the official Ninja ZX-10R SBK racebike.

Sykes was fastest of all at the Motorland tests in October, finding himself in a familiar situation given his amazing abilities in SBK Superpole competitions. So far in testing both race pace evaluations and one-off lap times have been first class and the entire KRT team will be out to improve both these elements of performance.

For Loris Baz a return to Aragon will see him on familiar asphalt but he will be much fitter than his previous run-out at the Spanish circuit, as he was still carrying the effects of injury from a big crash in last year?s final round. Baz had an impressive 2012 experience after he was drafted into the team mid-season and his abilities as a test rider are improving every time the teenager gets on his Ninja ZX-10R.

The Aragon tests will take place over two days, 14 and 15 November. After that there will be a two-day track outing at Jerez (26 and 27 November) before the winter test ban kicks in during December and the first half of January.

Tom Sykes: ?I am all ready to go testing again. I am not getting much time to mess about at home and get my DIY work finished at my house but I am getting to ride my Ninja ZX-10R again, which is always a very positive thing. We are going to Motorland, which is a circuit we have a good reference data from. We have some quite key things to test. Those things should help us a lot. We have two days on track and I hope we get good weather for all of it so we can work in consistent conditions.?

Loris Baz: ?Another test at Aragon so I think we are going to know the track quite well! We will work in the same good direction we found in the two recent tests, just trying out all the bike set-ups we have to choose from, going step-by-step. As always we will not just be looking at the lap times, we will be concentrating on the feeling and the pace. I think it should be a good test and then we will go to Jerez, a new track with the bike, so that is going to be fun.?

Team Manager Guim Roda: ?At the next test at Motorland Aragon we will continue working on our new 2013 bikes. We will work exclusively with the new tyre sizes and will introduce some new electronic improvements. As always will continue developing the suspension package and try to give more feedback to KHI in Japan to assist them in developing the bike for next January?s tests. Tom is so strong and we need to keep him learning day-by-day to arrive at the first race in Australia in the most competitive way possible. Loris is growing up in a good way as an SBK racer and we are trying to teach him in one year what a normal rider could take three years to learn. We will also start to make some improvements on the way of working inside the team to be even more competitive. We are so excited to be working for a successful 2013 season already.?
 

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Weather Window Opens For KRT Tests At Motorland

After a wet first day of testing on 14th November, Thursday 15th provided some dry conditions for the Kawasaki Racing Team to continue development work on the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in Aragon.
Weather Window Opens For KRT Tests At Motorland
Both official Kawasaki riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz were able to test properly in dry conditions in the final afternoon, with Sykes also doing over 30 laps in the wet on day one, to find greater improvements in full wet conditions.

The team had one main area to focus on in the dry and the feedback from each rider was that the direction of development was a positive one. Despite the weather playing its part to provide some changeable conditions the team feels that they know Aragon so well that, to a degree at least, they can even compare results with previous tests and races held in slightly different conditions.

The next test for the team will be at new SBK venue for 2013, Jerez, on 26 and 27 November, before the winter test ban kicks in for all Superbike World Championship teams.

Tom Sykes: ?I am very happy with the test even if we had reduced track time. We still managed to evaluate a number of things. We have learned quite a bit today and we have definitely improved the feel of the bike in some areas. We have been able to do reasonable lap times and we can do them consistently with good feed back and I hope we can build on this at the next test. There were a few other riders out there today, on different bikes, so that was good because the track surface needed a little bit of use. Even in mixed conditions at Aragon we know exactly where we stand and can still work well and make progress. Also the track surface itself is usually quite consistent at Motorland so it is a good place for testing.?

Loris Baz: ?The test was good on the final day but we could not ride yesterday because of the weather. This morning was not so good either but we had some nice sunshine finally in the afternoon and we did something like 60 or 65 laps. We improved the feeling with the bike a lot, and I was more comfortable on it again. I think this was a really good step.?

Crew Chief Sykes, Marcel Duikers: ?Yesterday it was wet all day, more or less, so we made around 35 laps to improve our bike set-up in those conditions and we found the right direction in the wet to improve our performance, our speed. It started wet in the morning today but in the early afternoon we were able to make proper lap times, because the track was drying well. We worked on our main priority and stuck with this the rest of the afternoon. Even in a reduced amount of time on track we were able to test properly and we found the direction we wanted.?

Crew Chief Baz, Pere Riba: ?It was raining the first day and with Loris we just stayed in the box because the conditions were complicated. After the wet and damp morning today we just worked to keep finding the best balance with the new bike and to understand how Loris feels with it. We tested different things and finally it was good, very positive. He could do his best lap times more consistently so that is good.?
 

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Honda completes SBK test at Aragon

Honda yesterday completed a two-day test at Motorland Aragon in Spain as it continues its preparation for the 2013 World Superbike championship season.

Along with several of their championship rivals, riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam were frustrated by bad weather at the Spanish circuit, losing most of the first day. Yesterday was dry, however, and once the 4km track had dried, the British pair were able to test new parts on their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades.

Both riders declared themselves satisfied with progress despite Haslam crashing at Aragon?s first corner on only his second lap with a softer rear Pirelli. He and Rea will rendezvous with the team at Jerez later this month for the last test before the winter break.

Jonathan Rea

It was a little frustrating because we lost the first day and had to wait until late morning before we could get out on day two. We tried some new brake parts at the test and found an improvement in both consistency and performance, so that was positive. The new swingarm worked OK with the new 17-inch wheels but we still need to do a bit of fine-tuning with some other new chassis parts that are coming. We have some other things to test at Jerez, plus the new electronics, which I?m looking forward to.



Leon Haslam

I did a few wet laps on Wednesday but it was only to get more accustomed to bike. When the track finally dried we got to try a load of different stuff and did everything on the harder tyre, which felt good. When I went out on the softer tyre, I lost the rear going into turn one and the bike ended up in the barrier and too badly damaged to repair. The boys got the spare bike ready but it was quite different and there really wasn?t much time left anyway, so it was quite frustrating in the end. The one lap that I did on the softer tyre told me that the swingarm felt much better, so I?m looking forward to trying that with some other new parts at Jerez.



Pieter Breddels ? team co-ordinator

We had to wait for the weather to improve, which is how we have spent most of 2012, so we were quite used to that. The new swingarm was certainly better but we are expecting to see more improvement in the overall balance of the bike once we can use it with other chassis parts that we are developing. We also tried some new brake discs and pads at this test and got a better performance, so we finished on a positive note. We have some new electronics to test at Jerez at the end of the month so our plans for 2013 are coming together.
 

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Jerez All Set To Host KRT Test Sessions

The last KRT test of the 2012 calendar year will take place at new SBK venue of Jerez between 26 and 28 November, with Tom Sykes and Loris Baz set to make more progress with their 2013 spec machinery.
Jerez All Set To Host KRT Test Sessions
The extensive Kawasaki testing programme in readiness for the 2013 season will continue on after the mandatory testing ban is completed in mid-January. Until that time these three days at Jerez will be the last chance to make on-track evaluations of all new material and strategies designed to make both Tom Sykes and Loris Baz even stronger contenders for glory in the 2013 SBK season.

Sykes, almost the champion in 2012, has been has frequently been the fastest man on track, no matter the testing venue and no matter the competition. The main focus of testing is always to improve set-up for race distances, but even when running race trim Sykes still has the happy capability of putting in devastatingly fast single lap times when required.

Young French rider Loris Baz will still be 19-years-old when testing reconvenes after the winter break but his more immediate focus will be on Jerez, a circuit he is looking forward to riding his official Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R around after good testing displays at Aragon and Valencia recently.

Tom Sykes: ?I have only ever done a few laps at Jerez, due to weather conditions, but it was a circuit that I really enjoyed. It is our final test before the break so hopefully we can gain a lot of information and work hard with this testing data in the off-season. This is our last chance to evaluate some parts and ideas, and things are going relatively well, but I would like to get more information to give to the team and KHI engineers so we can arrive at the start of next year in an even stronger condition. Pirelli has done a good job with the 17-inch tyres and I am very impressed with them. So far the transition has been quite smooth. We will take the testing as it comes.?

Loris Baz: ?I hope we can get some nice days of weather in Jerez because I am really looking forward to this test. I want to get some more good information before we have the ?relaxed month? of the testing ban. It will be a very important test for next season so I cannot wait to get going. I really like Jerez and I am looking forward to riding my Superbike there. We tried some nice things in our previous test at Motorland Aragon and I cannot wait to confirm these good steps in Jerez.?

Team Manager Guim Roda: ?This will be the last test of 2012 winter season. Kawasaki and all in the team are working so hard to improve a bike that took second in the WSBK championship, just 0.5 points behind Max Biaggi. So it is not an easy job. Tom is also working hard to start on an even better level than he finished this year, which will also not be easy. Loris is the one we have to help manage more as he is 19 years old and yet the level of performance we will request of him for 2013 will not be easy. So he has too has a hard job. Everybody is concentrating on continuing to get podiums with the Ninja ZX-10R, as are all our partners and sponsors. Kawasaki of course, but also Motocard, Leo Vince, Elf, Bubel and our technical partners are making very big efforts to support the project. All of them add their passion and support to the team, even in what is an economically hard global situation. We want to say thanks to all of them as we continue into 2013. Let us see in Jerez how we can manage on a new track with no real reference points for us.?
 

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Honda rounds out 2012 with Jerez test
The Honda World Superbike Team has completed its 2012 riding programme today with a two-day test at Jerez in southern Spain.

The team?s 2013 all-British rider line-up of Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea spent the final testing opportunity of the year with new chassis components and a completely revised electronics package for the CBR1000RR Fireblade racing machines.
Rea, who won two World Superbike races during the 2012 season, concentrated on the new electronics package on Monday, starting at a relatively slow pace before he and his crew began to fine-tune the system today.

Haslam, meanwhile, continued to familiarise himself with the CBR for the first time in three years, making a variety of set-up changes before he and Rea took part in a race simulation at the end of the day, when Haslam set his fastest time.

Leon Haslam

We had a good day today and we made some really good steps forward which have given me a much better balance with the bike now. I didn?t get a chance to really push for a time at the end because I felt a small vibration in the bike, but it felt pretty good and the race simulation that Johnny and I did together at the end was good fun. We?ve been working just on chassis improvements because I?ve been using the old engine and electronics. It?ll be good to get the new stuff because we need a little more work on power delivery, but I?m really happy with progress so far. I?m looking forward to the Christmas break, which I?ll spend in the UK with a six-days-a-week training programme before maybe a bit of sun somewhere in the New Year.

Jonathan Rea

I haven?t ridden at Jerez for about ten years, and that was on a 125, but it?s a really fun circuit and I like riding here. I was only doing installation laps with the new electronics so didn?t get a chance to really push with it. But the initial impressions are good, with a better feel in the fuel mapping and throttle control. I?ve got a new data engineer in Ronnie Schagen, who I worked with in World Supersport, and we?re working well together, which I?m happy about, too. We tried quite a lot of other things on the bike, changing the balance and so on, and when we put a bit of grip into the bike it feels pretty good. But I?m definitely looking forward to testing here again in January when we should have the full engine and electronics package.



Pieter Breddels ? technical co-ordinator

Leon continued making a number of settings changes during the day and he was able to keep continuing to improve, even in the race sim which finished the test for us. Jonathan, of course, is much more familiar with the Fireblade, so the options to try new settings are not so great! However, we took a step forward with his throttle control, so that was positive. We only did three or four runs on the new electronics today and there is a lot more to come from the package. In the end, we didn?t go with the softer tyre that other riders used at the end and the guys were less than a tenth of a second apart, so we are satisfied with the results of this test.
 

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Strong Performance For KRT Riders In Final 2012 Tests

Tom Sykes and Loris Baz made the most of a three-day test at new SBK venue Jerez before the winter test ban kicks in, with Sykes again setting impressive times and Baz making real progress once more.
Strong Performance For KRT Riders In Final 2012 Tests
Three good days of weather helped the team to develop their chassis package, with evaluation of many components starting early and continuing from the beginning to the end of the test sessions. The dry track and consistent tarmac condition allowed Sykes to make his first real test at this track, having only done a few laps of Jerez earlier in his career in wet conditions.

Despite his initial lack of true circuit experience Sykes scorched around the Jerez circuit in the south of Spain in his usual fast but consistent style, producing good single lap times and a strong race pace as well. He set a best lap of 1?40.4 seconds on a race tyre during the final morning.

The upward development path of 19-year-old Baz also continued once more with the French rider showing good pace and an ability to learn as he pushed his way to a best lap of 1?41.4. Loris also did final day race simulations, which provided very positive results.

The winter testing ban, which applies to all SBK teams, will lift in mid-January with more tests in Spain coming along for the KRT team before they head off to the first round in Australia in late February.

Tom Sykes: ?Today was very productive and I did 89 laps, which is about four race distances, so needless to say I will sleep well tonight! I am happy because we know what we need to do and we have taken a lot of information from this test. Monday was my first dry day here at Jerez because I had only been able to do ten wet laps before. I am still finding a few little secrets so I am happy because many other riders have been here many times, especially the ex-GP riders. Our times were pretty good. I did a 1?40.4 on an SC1 tyre and although we went to try an SC0 tyre at the end if the day, with the low sun and so on, I thought we would give it a miss. At the end of the day this is testing and it has been a good experience. We have done some good laps, fast and consistently and we have worked on various settings on the bike.?

Loris Baz: ?I am happy with my lap time because I did a 1?41.4 second lap with a race tyre, an SC1, in the morning. Then we did a race simulation with good lap times. I had two small crashes on the final day but when trying out some new parts on the bike. It is part of the job sometimes. It is another new track here. Overall our winter tests have gone well. Before the final race of 2012 I was maybe 1.5 seconds behind Tom but now it is something like half a second to one second, so we have improved things a lot.?

Crew Chief Sykes, Marcel Duinker:
?We had three wonderful days of weather, very nice and stable. The main reason we came here is sorted and it took all of our time. Finally we can make a conclusion now and it was the main reason we were here. So some other things we will now evaluate in testing in January. The lap times that Tom showed on regular race tyres were very fast and very consistent. I am a very happy man to end the 2012 season in this way.?

Crew Chief Baz, Pere Riba: ?Overall the result and the lap times were good. Jerez is a very good test track because you have many kinds of corners, hard braking, and lots of different elements so it is one of the best tracks to really help you improve the bike. From the first day the lap times came quite easy for Loris and then we worked trying to improve the chassis and suspension side. We also kept working with the electronics, and at the same time we continued to give input to Loris on the best way to ride the bike. This morning he did a good time with a race tyre and also he made some long runs and was doing similar lap times to everyone except Tom. He is one step forward but it was a very positive test for us.?
 

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Tom Sykes: The Best Is Yet To Come


In 2012 there were no prizes for guessing the most improved combination on track in the Superbike World Championship. Tom Sykes and the Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R.
Tom Sykes: The Best Is Yet To Come
At the start of 2012 the ambitions of the new-look Kawasaki Racing Team were high. But, maybe, the intense and increasing level of competition in this class held those ambitions back from the ultimate aim of fighting for the championship win itself. Maybe it was still a year too early? As time was to tell, however, for Tom Sykes, his almost entirely new crew of backup staff and a rejuvenated SBK specification Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, the championship title was to elude their combined challenge by a mere half point.

This astonishing turn-around from Sykes finishing outside the top ten the year before was due to the efforts of all involved? The back-room staff and development engineers back at KHI headquarters in Japan, Kawasaki Europe?s race management structure, the Provec Racing team in Spain, who took over the running of a full Superbike team for the first time in ?12, all of KRT?s partners and sponsors, and the people who worked on the bikes themselves ? race meeting after race meeting, test after test. Finally, of course, the 27-year-old Sykes took on the ultimate responsibility.

The potent end user of all the effort that took Kawasaki to within a sliver of outright success was Sykes. When it comes to the business of taking results, the rider is always the final link in the chain. And after proving himself unbreakable despite the increasing pressure to perform as the season progressed, in 2012 Sykes almost left the final round gold-plated from head to foot. It is no exaggeration to say that in 2012 Tom went from the status of being respected by most to being revered by many.

Tom?s cool head and hot pace were a welcome combination, and so close to a winning one that maybe some people think Sykes? best chance of the championship win may have passed? Knowing what he knows, having learned what he has learned, Sykes could not disagree more. ?I have heard some comments from people that there was my chance gone, but I do not look at it like that. We have done a good job this year and worked hard, found ourselves in a good position. I speak with my crew chief Marcel a lot, and if we had known back in Australia what we know now, I think we would have had an even stronger season.?

Sykes continued to explain why he feels 2013 will be an even better year again. ?Looking to 2013 I am more than happy now, and really excited and relaxed that I have, first and foremost, continuity,? said Tom. ?I am still with a great manufacturer in Kawasaki. Everybody has seen how much effort they have put in. Also, all of the team, all the guys working with me, we have a great understanding, and fortunately we are continuing with some great sponsors that are helping all the time. It is all a massive team effort. We have really gelled and it is working well.?

After some great showings in testing post-season as well, Sykes knows that development is still moving forward. But he also feels that all he learned in 2012 will be an asset for the next challenge. ?Next year there is going to be a lot of expectations and I feel I can manage myself in a good way,? said Sykes. ?For example, Magny-Cours, the final round of 2012, I was second in the championship when I arrived there, with a lot of pressure to perform. All things being said, I handled the pressure very well. We had some limitations in the wet there so I took the maximum points in race one that I felt it was safe to achieve, which was third. In the second race, the championship deciding race, I won that one, so I was quietly proud of that.?

For Sykes the big prize to aim for is the Championship in 2013. As it stands, in his career he has now started 106 SBK races, has won five, has taken 15 podiums, 17 front row starts, set four fastest laps and has 11 Superpole successes in qualifying. The vast majority of those high points have come along on the 2012 season.

With Kawasaki and all in the KRT squad working as hard as ever for success, few riders can feel better placed right now than Tom Sykes, arguably the most individual rider in the SBK paddock, and certainly one of the best.
 
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