• 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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Testing, Testing

Newsflash, 21 December 2012
One of the primary reasons why Kawasaki’s racing efforts in World Superbike have taken such an upswing in recent times is an intense testing schedule, which takes place away from race weekends.
Testing, Testing
The important role testing plays in going racing to win is difficult to underestimate, especially in a closely matched championship such as SBK, where six major manufacturers are vying to beat each other every time out.

There are two main types of test for major teams like KRT. Off-season testing, when points are not up for grabs and thus any major changes to a bike or its set-up can be made before a final direction of development strategy is settled on. Then there are the mid-season tests, which either allow new parts or modified settings to be used and evaluated, with a more tactical viewpoint, before they are used in the heat of battle.

We asked the KRT personnel most in the know about the role of testing in SBK racing for their opinions about how important extra track time is, at any stage of the season.

Team Manager Guim Roda, understandably, sees things from an overall point of view, as he is the man responsible for all aspects of the squad when they get to the racetracks. “In winter-testing, from my side, there are three main points,” said Roda. “One is trying to create a clear space between the last race of last year and the first race of next season. You use it to recharge the batteries for next year. The next point is like when you go to school. If you do not study you cannot get a good result in the exam. Winter testing, even all testing, is like when you study, so you can get good results on a race weekend. It is difficult to develop new ideas during a race weekend. Also in the off season this is the time to develop, especially in a factory team, because this is when you can understand what development is coming and also you know the information you will send back to Japan.”

Loris Baz’s Crew Chief Pere Riba has been part of the Kawasaki development programme for a long time, and understands the methodology very well. “Winter testing is about working with a factory in the background to improve the bike. It is important because during races it can be difficult to test depending on what new things come along. In the race weekend you have to get the maximum from the base you have to get a good result. When you change some big points, for example in the geometry side, you cannot get the best result in one day. You need more time, and sometimes you need different tracks to confirm 100% what you are doing. It is very easy to lose the line when you are developing a bike. If you try something new and it is a good thing on three tracks, then it is a good thing! Nowadays, it is more difficult in testing and also less difficult. Now you have many ways to modify the bikes, so if you know 100% what you want, you can go there. But this can also be a negative if you lose the direction.”

As a former top level rider himself, Riba also understands the importance of keeping the rider’s ‘eye’ in. Viewing life at 300 kilometres per hour is not part of the normal human condition, so riders need regular exposure to more than 220 bhp and over 320 kilometres per hour to be at their best when the season starts, or a big gap between rounds is encountered. “The rider must be used to the sheer speed of the bike. Even if you test with a motocross bike or a supermotard, it just is not the same. The real test is on the Superbike.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief of Tom Sykes
, is another who firmly believes a much more extensive testing programme has shown benefits from last year to 2012. “I think we have shown that testing is very important,” said Duinker. “It was the second year of the Ninja ZX-10R, but the previous year the development was not as extensive as this year, so after the final round in Portimão in 2011 we started from scratch. When everything is new you need to build on a solid base by testing. You can test many times but if you have the knowledge in house after a few tests then you are done and you must face your competitors first. You can test ten times but four is enough. You set-up your bike, go fast, and then suddenly think to yourself, “OK, what else?”

Duinker continued, “When we were in Almeria in January of 2012 we said, “OK, what will we do now? Beat the lap record? OK let’s do it.” But after that you go out and meet your competitors in a race and after one race you know straight away what to work on next. You then know what is your biggest limitation. During the season you realise that we are short in this or that area of performance. This year the team gave us the opportunity to go out for testing when we found a limitation on the bike and this is one of the reasons why we are so close to the top now.”

Ichiro Yoda, Racing Manager from KHI, is responsible for the project overall, with particular emphasis on engineering developments from the factory back in Japan. He explained that testing, both off-season and in the middle of the season, is simply vital when you have a non-stop cycle of development going on back at the headquarters. “After every race we have a clear target to improve for the next race,” said the experienced Yoda. “If we have a rush in the racing activity then we have no time to bring new parts. We have quite limited time on race weekends, 45 minutes free practice and then suddenly we go to qualifying to set a lap time. If we have testing opportunities away from races then we can evaluate things before we come to a race meeting. The final judgement of everything is at races. If we have a good result on the dyno, or on the Japanese test track, the final judgement must still come from these two riders, Tom and Loris.”

Yoda also looks at the human element as important. Along with the need for regular testing there is also the need for rest and relaxation, now forced on everyone in any case by a testing ban through all of December to mid January. “Testing is very important, also to keep the physical condition and sharpness of riders. In the off-season you bring all new things to test. With the winter testing ban it can be a problem but also the riders have to ‘switch off’ sometimes and enjoy their lives. Also the mechanics and everyone else. Also myself! Even during the testing ban, back in Japan the development work never stops. When I go to KHI in Japan every day they are working until late at night. They work very hard. We pushed things forward a lot in the end of the year in 2012.”

The final result of all that combined effort was coming to within half a point of the championship itself, proof positive that an integrated and extensive testing programme, done well, makes a real difference when it comes to raceday possibilities.
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Loris Baz Interview: Fast By France

Loris Baz has made waves all the way since he joined the SBK championship half way through the 2012 championship, as partner to Tom Sykes in the official Kawasaki Racing Team squad.

A youthful sensation in the overall SBK paddock when he won the Superstock 600 European championship in 2008 ? aged only 15 - Baz then had a series of ups and occasional downs in the bigger Superstock classes. He also raced in many other classes and categories, in many countries in Europe, and ended up in the BSB championship in 2011.

Loris started the 2012 season inside the Kawasaki family as part of the MRS Kawasaki Superstock 1000 FIM Cup team, once more being guided by former racer Adrien Morillas, and in only three races took one podium on the Ninja ZX-10R. He finished the 2012 season with a race win to his credit, of course, but not in Superstock. In the biggest production-derived class of all - the FIM Superbike World Championship.

Racing of any kind has its risks and after regular KRT Superbike rider Joan Lascorz was injured in testing at Imola Loris was the rider who was eventually chosen to be his replacement to the end of the season, from the Donington round onward.

A brave and clever wet race win at Silverstone and two other weather affected podium finishes came along for Baz and he was duly signed up by KRT for what will be his first full season of SBK racing in 2013. His unflappable nature despite being so young, combined with strong self-confidence and talent, were tools that Kawasaki have found easy to work with.

We asked Loris ? who will still be a teenager until February 1st 2013 - about his 2012 experiences and what he hopes for the season to come.

Q: How do you feel after such a year as you experienced in 2012? You did very well once you got the chance on a factory Superbike, yes?
A: Honestly, I feel really good and so I am looking forward to next season. As I always said, I need to feel like family with the people I work with, and I felt it straight away in Kawasaki; first in Superstock, and then later with the Superbike. It wasn?t easy to join in the middle of the season but I took it like it was the opportunity of my life and I couldn?t ask for a better result when I look forward now.

Q: Despite your age you are quite an experienced rider and have ridden in many categories. How much has this experience helped to bring you on faster than other riders of your age?
A: I think that this is the key. Adrien Morillas, my coach and ex-team manager, always said that I had to go on a 600cc bike as soon possible. That?s why I was on it at 14-years-old and then as soon possible on a 1000cc bike. So, I joined World Superbike at 19-years old but I already had six years on a four-stroke bike, four years on a 1000 and already some experience of an SBK machine in BSB last year.
This helped me a lot to understand the KRT bike, even if it?s again totally different to ride from anything before!

Q: It has not been all smooth progress in your short career, but do you think that both problems and positives can combine to make you stronger overall?
A: Of course. I think if everything comes easy to you and you don?t have to fight for it, then you don?t appreciate the opportunity as much. I know where I am and I know where I want to go, I just have to do the right things to get it.

Q: How would you describe your personality to someone you had never met before?
A: Ha-ha! COOL? Ha-ha! I don?t know? it?s never easy to speak about myself. But? If I have to answer, I think I am easy going, somebody who is honest and I always say what I think. But maybe other people should answer this question!?

Q: What about 2013, what are your targets?
A: I don?t have any pressure. I just want to try my best and I think if we try our best we will have a good season. I want to start the season with the same target as I finished this one, taking it race-by-race and trying to score my first dry top five finish as soon possible. Then I will try to stay at that level, and improve even further.


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New Year And New Opportunities At Almeria Test Sessions

The Kawasaki Racing Team will shortly undertake its first track sessions of 2013 when riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz join the rest of the squad for a two-day test at the popular circuit of Almeria.
New Year And New Opportunities At Almeria Test Sessions
Both official Kawasaki riders will be on track on 17 and 18 January, immediately after the lifting of the winter test ban. Since the last tests for the team at Jerez in late November 2012, KHI in Japan and various team suppliers have been hard at work developing new materials and strategies and Almeria will be the first chance for the entire team to evaluate the full SBK race specification 2013 machine.

The team will try out the latest advances in Showa suspension, plus many new parts designed to improve the performance on a machine that came to within half a point of a championship win with Tom Sykes in 2012.

Although Almeria is not a circuit on the regular SBK schedule it is an ideal place for the team to restart their on-track working relationships before they can make real comparisons between old and new materials at Jerez once again, on 22 and 23 January.

After that final European test the KRT team will have its official launch in Barcelona on 31 January, before the entire SBK paddock makes final preparations to go to Australia for more testing at Phillip Island. The fast and flowing venue in the state of Victoria hosts the first race of the 2013 SBK season, on 24 February.

Tom Sykes: ?After a nice break over the holiday period I am looking forward to getting back on my Kawasaki. It has been a few weeks now so it will be good to get going again. Almeria is a circuit where we go to stretch our legs a little bit and break ourselves into a new year. We did the same thing last year and it seemed to work for us then, so we are going the same again in 2013. There will be a couple of things we want to try but the main aim is for everybody to get back into it, get up to speed and then away we go.?

Loris Baz: ?I am really ready for the season now. I had a good period of time off but it has been a while since we were on track because of the testing ban. I hear we have some new parts to test, in suspension and on the bike, so I am looking to see if we can improve in general and for me to reduce the gap to Tom. It is good to start testing at Almeria because it is a track that is not on the championship so we do not have any pressure and we can go step-by-step at the beginning.?

Guim Roda, Team Manager:
?The main reason to go to Almeria is just to get the riders back into the way of riding the bike and get back a feeling for the machine. Almeria is a track with no race reference so it is good to let the riders enjoy riding without any pressure. It is an ideal preparation before we go to the Jerez tests on 22 and 23 January. We will focus on this Almeria test to develop some new things; Showa suspension, brakes and other small details on the bike which have come from development work in Japan.?


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KRT Back On Track During Almeria Test

Tom Sykes and Loris Baz undertook their first shakedown runs in preparation for the 2013 season and despite losing the second day at Almeria because of high winds, each found positives to take away.
KRT Back On Track During Almeria Test
The riders experienced generally favourable track conditions on day one at the popular testing venue in Spain, with Sykes putting in a full day on the Ninja ZX-10R but Baz losing some time in the afternoon.

Sykes was up to his expected fast pace very early in the test, and set a 1:34?9 lap time after just a few laps on race tyres, despite a break of over six weeks since his last test session due to the mandatory testing ban imposed by the series organisers.

For Baz the first day Almeria started well but he had to re-learn the circuit before getting up to speed, as he had not ridden there for many years, and only once before in dry track conditions.

Despite the loss of day two the team worked on advances in suspension and chassis components for the most part, which showed positive results. Now the entire KRT teams heads to Jerez, in Andalusia, for the second test of the pre-season on 22 and 23 January.

Tom Sykes: ?The good news after day one was that we were straight on the pace after the winter break and got up to speed quickly. It proved a very useful day and I did 82 laps. There was a strong wind on day two, which is a shame because we did not venture out on the track. Even when I woke up this morning I could hear the wind really howling around the hotel. For us it all worked out nicely anyway because we worked on suspension, and other things to keep us moving forward. Now we go to Jerez for two days and I am looking forward to continuing our good work there.?

Loris Baz:
?I did not have a full first day because of some issues but we got back into riding the race machine and it was really good to get used to the bike again. For me, we tried to find some better things under braking. I think we did that so I am looking forward to do more work in that area at the next test in Jerez. The last time I rode at Almeria in the dry was on an 80cc bike in 2005, so I had to learn the track a little. It is quite different on a Superbike! We know what we need to try and confirm when we get to Jerez, so I just want some good weather then so I can ride for two full days.?

Crew Chief Sykes, Marcel Duinker: ?The idea of this test was to get the riders up to speed a bit after the break and we worked on a few little things. After a season like we had last year we start from a different point, so we were only fine-tuning the machine. We had some chassis and suspension updates and we were able to test some of those but we will continue on with them in Jerez. We are in schedule and with two good days at Jerez we should have no lack of testing time. We ended up doing similar lap times to last year at Almeria and Tom found the rhythm really quickly. He was as fast as last year after only three outings from pitlane. That was very impressive after not riding for quite a few weeks.?

Crew Chief Baz, Pere Riba: ?This was the first test after the long break in the winter and the target was just for the riders to get the rhythm again and of course to make a test of some small things. The first day was useful to us, and then today, because the wind was so strong, we had to cancel the track time. We are now looking to Jerez and I hope the weather is a little bit more consistent.?


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BMW Motorrad Motorsport: looking forward to the 2013 Superbike World Championship
The winter break is drawing to an end, the countdown is on to the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship, and the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team is under starter?s orders. With just three weeks to go until the season-opener in Phillip Island, Australia, the realigned BMW Motorrad works team was presented to the public in the BMW Welt in Munich.

BMW Motorrad Italia is now responsible for the works team?s race and test outings, as well as work on the chassis. The power train and electronics are developed by BMW Motorrad in Munich. Italian Marco Melandri lines up in his second season as a BMW Motorrad works rider alongside his new team-mate Chaz Davies from Great Britain. As General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK, Andrea Buzzoni is the man with overall responsibility for the Superbike project. Stephan Fischer, Technical Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport, is in charge of motorsport development at BMW Motorrad. Serafino Foti is Sport Director of the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team, while Andrea Dosoli is responsible for technical issues within the Superbike team as Technical Director. As title sponsor, GoldBet is an important partner of the team.

?Motorsport will once again play a major role for BMW Motorrad this year,? said Stephan Schaller, President of BMW Motorrad, at the official launch. ?2012 was by far our most successful season to date in the FIM Superbike World Championship. With six wins, 18 podiums, six fastest laps, the second place overall in the Manufacturers? Championship and the title win in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, BMW Motorrad established itself as one of the top teams in the series. With this strong position as a basis, we have realigned our works commitment for the coming season. I am more than confident that we can achieve our goals with the new structure, experienced team management, and works riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies. These goals are to firmly establish ourselves among the top teams at the pinnacle of production-based motorsport in the long term, and to claim as many wins and podiums as possible.?

?We are looking to follow on from the success BMW Motorrad achieved last season,? explained Andrea Buzzoni, General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK. ?The various parts in the restructured team became attuned to one another very quickly. Two very experienced teams, which have already shown in the past just how strong and professional they are, have merged into one team. In order to be successful, however, you also need good riders and an outstanding bike ? and we have them in the form of Marco, Chaz and the BMW S 1000 RR. Another important ?ingredient? is the speed. The speed, which is one of the most important factors on track, is also essential for the work of the team: to react and act fast is crucial to reach the target and to be competitive.?

Works rider Marco Melandri played a major role in the success of BMW Motorrad last year. ?Going into the season we certainly didn?t expect to pick up six wins and be in contention for the title right down to the final race. This year I am primarily looking to improve my own performances. I don?t want to make the same mistakes as I did in 2012, and want to make the podium more consistently,? said the Italian, outlining his goals for the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship.

Britain?s Chaz Davies is in his first season as a BMW Motorrad works rider. ?This is a big step for me, as it is the first time I have been directly involved in a works project. That means an awful lot to me,? said the 2011 Supersport World Champion. ?I am very proud, as it is not just any works team, but BMW ? a powerful brand. I want to take full advantage of this opportunity. My goal is to continue improving, become more consistent, and end the season in the top five.?

The BMW S 1000 RR was further developed over the winter and improved in all areas. ?To be victorious, you need a bike that combines many different factors in one perfect overall package,? said Stephan Fischer, Technical Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport. ?Engine, electronics, chassis, set-up ? all these factors must interact optimally ? optimally meaning that the overall package is perfectly tailored to the needs of the rider. Our job is to provide our riders with an individually optimised bike, which allows them to perform to the best of their ability on every track and in any conditions.? Regulations stipulate that 17-inch wheels are to be used in the FIM Superbike World Championship as of this season. The conversion to the new wheel size played a major role in the development work for 2013. It required modifications to every area of the bike, to the chassis, the electronics, the engine and the entire set-up.

In developing the bike, the team in Italy and the R&D department at BMW Motorrad in Munich work hand in hand. ?Our close cooperation is the key to have a competitive package?, explained Andrea Dosoli, Technical Director of the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team. ?We are one team and we have a continuous information flow. The bike is a complex package, any change to the engine or the electronics has an impact on the chassis and vice versa. My role is to steer the information flow. We plan the development process according to the riders? feedback and requests as well as to the current competitive situation.?

?I am confident that the restructured team has the skill and know-how required in order to establish BMW Motorrad as one of the top teams and to achieve the goals we have set ourselves,? said Serafino Foti, Sport Director of the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team, at the launch. ?I am also delighted to have two top riders like Marco and Chaz in the team. Marco has shown what a huge talent he is, and he is one of the best riders in the world. Chaz has also shown just how quick he is by winning the 2011 Supersport World Championship. He also claimed his first win in the Superbike World Championship during his debut season in 2012.?

BMW Motorrad is also continuing its successful involvement in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, in which the team won the title in both 2010 and 2012. Reigning champion Sylvain Barrier from France lines up in his third season with the team. His new team-mate is Sourth-African Greg Gildenhuys, who recently won the South African Superbike Championship three times in a row.

BMW Motorrad?s clear objective in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup is to defend its title. ?We know that it will be a big task to defend the title in such a fiercely-competitive championship. However, I am confident that we can achieve this goal with the overall package we have at BMW Motorrad,? said Sylvain Barrier. His new team-mate Greg Gildenhuys added: ?I am already looking forward to the next chapter in my career. I would like to thank BMW Motorrad for this opportunity to ride on the international stage and will be out to repay the faith they have put in me, in the form of good results.?


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FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier is battling to regain full fitness ahead of next week's Assen World Superbike race following the knee surgery he had at Aragon recently.

Camier crashed on the Friday at the Spanish track and was operated on that evening in Alcaniz hospital to repair a severe wound to his left knee. He was discharged from hospital on Sunday afternoon, with his leg in a splint to restrict movement, and immediately returned to the circuit to support team-mate Jules Cluzel and the rest of the squad in the day's races.

The Englishman returned to his home in Andorra on Sunday and instantly began a thorough and comprehensive rehabilitation process with the help of local specialists to speed-up his recovery time. Camier is now walking without the splint - although he has a brace on the knee to protect it - and has about 40% full movement in the joint. The injury is improving at a promising rate and the risk of infection has now subsided making the chances of Camier being fit a possibility.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki, Camier and his Doctor will assess the situation about his condition next week, before a decision is made whether he will be able to participate in the Dutch WSBK races at Assen on Sunday April 28th.


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FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier has been passed fit to ride in tomorrow morning's first free practice session at the Assen round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.

Camier will take part in Friday morning's first session and the Dutch circuit and the Doctors at Clinica Mobile will assess the situation after the 45-minute practice. He has over 80% movement in the knee after making an amazing recovery from the injury he sustained less than two weeks' ago.

Following a thorough fitness test today, at the track by Clinica Mobile, Camier was declared fit to ride in the first practice. If he is unable to continue after the first session, his place on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R will be taken by Damian Cudlin.


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Perennially Pedercini: How A Family Firm Makes Racing Work

Team Pedercini is continuing its family affair in both Superstock 1000 and Superbike classes with its partner Kawasaki and the assistance of many others who share their racing passion.
Perennially Pedercini: How A Family Firm Makes Racing Work
In an era of unavoidably shrinking grids the Kawasaki Team Pedercini squad is a beacon of self-reliance and an illustration of what can be achieved with a degree of financial support allied to a vast degree of motivation and passion to succeed.
Currently the Pedercini team has no less than five riders operating in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup class and two in the Superbike series, all on Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R machinery. It has been a long road to get to this level.
Team Manager Lucio Pedercini started GP racing in 1992 and in 1993 he and his father Donato began an unbroken racing adventure together that was conducted on 500cc two-strokes until 1997, before the team jumped into the World SBK Championship in 1998. Two Italian national Superbike Championships and a best of fourth in an SBK round for Lucio himself, before he retired at the end of 2006, pre-dated the current Pedercini approach. Over the years since then some big names have ridden for the team, which swapped to Kawasaki power in 2008.
Team Pedercini is not the only one with family connections inside the paddock, but in strength and depth of commitment few if any can match the Pedercinis. Lucio?s brother, Ivan, plays a vital part at the head of the technical side. Donatella, Lucio and Ivan?s mother, looks after the team?s ever-popular hospitality unit, which regularly caters for over 100 people at races.
For Lucio, this timeless family tie is the main reason why the team has continued and even carried on with its success in Superstock when many other teams of this level have had to fold. ?It would not be possible to do this if it was only me in the team, we need all the family?s input, we need everybody,? said Lucio. ?Our team is not a small team, 26 people now without the riders. For sure I cannot follow everything. We discuss things a lot together in the family, we all live close together at home, so every day we talk a lot about everything. I do not take care of the engines and the technicians, that is down to my brother and my father, but I work on all the other things - sponsors, riders, logistics, travel. We need each other to make it all work.?
Commercially speaking racing has never been tougher, with even willing sponsors having little money but the Pedercini crew brings something to the party that money cannot buy, as Lucio explains. ?It is possible to continue but it is very hard now. The answer is always the same as to how we do it. We have a lot of passion and we put all our passion inside this job. We have tried to change our mentality in SBK, because only with passion it is not possible. So in Superstock we decided to make five riders this year. Two to try and win the championship ? Savadori and Mercado ? the other two for results but also to help with budgets. Then we took a fifth rider because he had a good sponsor for now and in the future, IFB. They wanted to come into the team for many years, so for that we decided to make a fifth bike. This is a lot of hard work but I do not care. If we need to work 20 hours every day to get the budget that?s OK.?
Lucio and crew have weathered the recent financial storms thanks to the loyalty and support of his sponsors, including Elf, plus Kawasaki?s help. ?Many of our sponsors like me and my team more than just the results, because normally I become good friends with them. Sometimes it is more about the friendly relationship than pure business, but it is really not an easy time for the economy in Italy. I lost some sponsors, but I am still in good contact with them and they say that when things pick up they can come back again. I think they enjoy our story and the history, the family element, etc.?
Many of those sponsors are based in Italy, and that means the team runs on three fronts, two inside the SBK paddock and one inside the CIV Italian Championships. ?We also run in the Italian championship because many people say, ?Ah, you represent Italy in the world championship, so why do you not do the Italian championship?? said Lucio. "We are not a tuning company back home; we have no other real interest outside of the team we run in all the classes. Kawasaki helps us, sponsors and some riders also help to pay.?
As a natural consequence of so many other SBK manufacturers running official teams and having significantly more resources than the family-owned and run Pedercini team, top results in SBK involve points scores and top ten finishes with less experienced riders on board, like Italy?s Federico Sandi and Alex Lundh from Sweden in SBK, even with an ever-improving tech package.
In the FIM Cup however, it is a different matter. With Ninja ZX-10R riders Lorenzo Savadori and Leandro Mercado leading the Kawasaki Team Pedercini line, top class results have already come along in 2013. Said Lucio, ?Our main Kawasaki involvement is in Superstock, where we have budget and parts, but in Superbike we get some parts and help, which is really appreciated. But our real involvement is in Superstock. In Superbike we receive some parts from Kawasaki and we also make some of our own so that does not cost us a lot of money.?
Mercado was third in the first round at Aragon while Savadori won a spectacular victory at Monza. No better place than there to win for a team based in Volta Mantovana, in the same region of northern Italy! More recently Mercado scored fourth place at Portimao and he won both opening races in the Italian Championship for Kawasaki Team Pedercini at Mugello.
Every good result is a reason for celebration and satisfaction but a major asset in the Pedercini team?s mission for success, other than the awesome Ninja ZX-10R in Superstock trim, is what they can do with their vast combined experience.
?In Superstock, when the Ninja ZX-10R arrived in 2011 we worked a lot with Kawasaki and we gave them a lot of feedback,? said Lucio. ?That seemed to help and they worked a lot for us. The bike was good at the beginning but even in Superstock you can change small things that become important in racing at FIM Cup level.?
Team Pedercini, a tight knit group of global adventurers, know that the championship and race wins are possible even after some recent bad luck for Savadori, ?We have received some good rewards recently in Superstock and took wins in the Italian championship with Mercado so all the work pays off sometimes!?


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Positive Motorland Aragon Test For KRT Riders
Newsflash, 17 June 2013
The Kawasaki Racing Team made another step forward in the development of the Ninja ZX-10R SBK race package by conducting a two-day test at Motorland Aragon on 13 and 14 June.

Regular KRT riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz lapped strongly in generally hot weather conditions as they each completed their planned test schedules without a hitch.

Track temperatures ended up over 50?C for long periods of the test, making it a tough one for the riders in a physical sense. Nonetheless, Sykes posted over 150 laps, setting many in the 1?57 bracket, and Baz put in over 90 laps, with many in the 1?58s. The French rider opted to stop riding in the afternoon of day two after successfully completing his entire test plan earlier than he and his team had expected.

Even the arrival of some rain on the afternoon of the first day did not hold back the positive work done on both engine development and chassis settings at this test, in which both riders consistently improved on the already strong pace they set at the Motorland Aragon race in mid-April.

The next race is at Imola, Italy, on Sunday 30 June, where the team will have the first chance to make the most of their latest batch of KHI?s technical improvements.

Tom Sykes:
?Testing went really well. It was typical of Kawasaki?s positive approach that they have been responsive to my comments and we had a very well structured test plan. On the final day I did over 90 laps and I can tell you, after that many laps of Aragon you feel like you have worked a little bit! It was a good test in preparation for a hot summer of racing as we had more than 30 degrees air temperature and over 50?C on the track, but we still set good lap times. It was good for me to get on the bike and refresh my mind after falling on the sighting lap at the last race in Portimao. I have been very hard on myself since then, thinking too much about it, to be honest. It was a freak accident in Portugal and the trick is to learn from the mistake. So it was good to go out in Aragon and get some fast laps in. It was a bit of a remedy as well as a good test, so it could not have come at a better time. Now I am only thinking about how positive the test was and how good the Ninja ZX-10R will be at the next round.?

Loris Baz: ?We made some more big improvements at this test and we did all the jobs we needed to do in less than the full two days, so I did not ride on the second afternoon. We tried everything we wanted to and all the things that my crew chief Pere Riba had in his mind. We worked mostly on the general feeling with the bike on race settings and I was definitely faster than I had been in the race at Aragon a couple of months ago. It was cool to lap faster than before and I am even more confident with the bike. We spent two important days at Aragon and we did everything we had to do. We tried a lot of things so we did not need to do more than the 90 laps I finally set.?

Marcel Duinker: ?This test was all about fine tuning the evolutions we made in the winter. In general, tests for us this year are slightly different from last year. At this moment we do not have a real clear limitation on the bike and it is getting better and better all the time. So we made another step in the areas of engine and chassis. I am a happy man after this test because - again - in every area of the bike we were a bit faster than before. The track conditions during race weekend were maybe even better than they were in the test as it was cooler then. At the test we had track temperatures over 50 degrees but we were still quite a bit faster than during race weekend in April so we have to be happy. Tom did 63 laps on day one and 93 on day two. Since we started to work together Tom has become a very good test rider. It is easy to work with him because it is very easy for him to understand the bike and because he pushes to 99.9% every time he goes out, he confirms any new items with his lap time. In most cases when he walks into the garage I can see on his face if he likes it or not. It is very pleasant to have a co-operation like that.?

Pere Riba: ?On the first day we made a good start even though later on we had some rain. We were out at 9am on the final day and we worked on the forks, rear shock, geometry and other things. I think it was important after the last three or four races for Loris to have a test because it is difficult to try new things and make big changes on race weekends. You have no time to concentrate on it and it can also disturb your preparations for raceday. Our testing lap times were strong compared to this year?s race and Loris made good improvements. Every time we ride he understands the bike better and better. Since Australia Loris has not crashed out once and the one time he fell at Phillip Island was when another rider hit him. The way the championship is in 2013 it looks like there the first group of a few riders, but Loris already looks like being the top of the second group. He is sixth in the points and every time he gets closer to the top, which is the aim of everyone involved. We have many more races left and he is improving all the time.?


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Sykes Re-Signs With Kawasaki Racing Team For 2014
Newsflash, 20 July 2013
Tom Sykes will campaign the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in the 2014 SBK season for the official Kawasaki Racing Team after signing a contract to continue what has already been a fruitful relationship.
Sykes Re-Signs With Kawasaki Racing Team For 2014
Sykes was runner-up in the championship in 2012 with KRT and currently leads the FIM Superbike World Championship after seven rounds of the season have been completed. Kawasaki is keen to continue this great form and build on it for the future so retaining Sykes was an important part in the winning equation of rider, machine and team. In 2014 Tom will start his fifth straight year with Kawasaki in the Superbike World Championship.

With new initiatives coming into place from SBK rights holders Dorna the 2014 SBK Championship is sure to be followed with keen interest by fans and media alike, making the choice of riders a key element of Kawasaki?s strategy.

Re-signing Tom is also a recognition of the strong part he has played in the development of the on-track capabilities of the Ninja ZX-10R and his continued presence on the official team maintains his contribution to a very positive era in the history of Kawasaki?s overall racing activities.

Tom Sykes: ?For me this is an awesome place to be. I have made my feelings quite clear to Kawasaki and all the individual team members and sponsors. I am really happy in my working environment and very relaxed. I am probably at my best in this kind of scenario so the natural thing is to continue for at least another year in SBK. It is a great championship and when you have all the ingredients in place to be fighting at the front every weekend, even at different circuits, it is what you aim for. We have proved that we can do it and had a couple of double wins already. I have a great feeling riding with Kawasaki, so why change that? I am over the moon to stay in the team and the continuity is great. I could not be happier with the people around me. The deal has been done so early in the season, which is an absolute first.?

Ichiro Yoda, KHI Race Planning Manager: ?I feel Tom looks like he is going to be ?Mr Kawasaki?, because after we had great success with American rider Scott Russell we found it difficult to find a new ?Mr Kawasaki.? Now it looks like Tom can be this person. We also want to push him to grow up in racing terms even more than he has already and he now realises himself how he can do this job. After his Imola double race win we feel he has understood his real potential and now it looks like he can develop even more quickly. The bike, the rider and the team have all made great progress together and because of this we are very happy.?

Guim Roda, Team Manager: ?Tom made incredible job last year and this year is still growing up as a racer. We are really curious to see what level he can final arrive at - that's the main sporting reason we wanted to sign him from our side of things. From a personal point of view we have always found Tom to be a very good team worker, he always has a smile on his face for the Kawasaki supporters and he is a very cooperative rider with the media. He is a good guy who always tries to give his best and really concentrates on his job. I hope this early movement from Kawasaki in re-signing him will give him a calm environment to concentrate on his 2013 season and then work at 105% for 2014 - a season that we expect to be very exciting too. I want to say thanks to Kawasaki for giving us the opportunity to keep Tom in the team for next year."

Steve Guttridge, KME European Race Planning Manager: ?It's great news that Tom is confirmed to remain with us in the Kawasaki Racing Team for another season! He's grown into a pure professional and clearly he is the man to challenge for the SBK title with our team and Ninja ZX-10R machine. Both are always developing and improving in every area, every week, in order to reach the common goal, which is to win the FIM Superbike World Championship for Kawasaki. It's a perfect combination so there was no reason to change it from either side, I believe. This early announcement reassures Tom that his immediate future is clear and so I'm sure it will help him relax and focus on our goals right now and within the rest of the season."


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Salom Replaces Loris Baz For US Round
Newsflash, 23 September 2013
Regular KRT Superbike World Championship rider Loris Baz will miss the forthcoming American round of the championship and will be replaced by current WSS star and former regular SBK rider David Salom.
Salom Replaces Loris Baz For US Round
After a fast crash in warm-up at the N?rburgring round in early September Baz suffered a suspected broken vertebra. He travelled to the next round in Turkey intent on riding but after final medical checks it was decided he should not race for reasons of safety.

Further medical checks after he returned home have confirmed his injury was indeed a result of his crash in Germany therefore, to make sure he is fit and strong enough to compete at his home round in early October, Loris will miss the long trip to America and instead concentrate on his full recovery.

Salom, who last raced a superbike in 2012 in the privateer Kawasaki Team Pedercini squad, now gets the chance to sample the official 2013 KRT Ninja ZX-10R, the same specification of machine which has taken Tom Sykes to the top of the championship table.

Salom, 28, normally rides a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in the Supersport World Championship and will return to his regular Intermoto team at the following round in France.

David Salom: ?I am very happy that the decision was made to allow me to ride the official Superbike at Laguna Seca. This is a new opportunity for me and for sure it will be difficult. The track is new to me and this machine is not the same as the one I rode last year. So I have a lot of learning to do, even though this is a great opportunity for me.?

KRT Team Manager Guim Roda: ?Loris should be OK to ride at Magny-Cours because he will have had a few weeks of recovery from his vertebra injury. We had expected he would ride in Turkey so we had no time to make a replacement for him there. However, because Loris?s recovery is so important we have considered it best to keep him at home again, just to ensure that he comes back 100% fit and ready to race at his home round. He knows that track well and can help Tom in his end of season push for the title. We have asked David Salom to ride the official KRT Ninja ZX-10R in America alongside Tom and he has accepted the chance - and the challenge. We know him well as together we were second in the Supersport World Championship in 2011. We are well aware of his value as a rider. It will also be a help to him to grow, to let him go back to his regular ride on the Ninja ZX-6R in Supersport sharp and operating at a high level. It will not be an easy challenge for him in America ? a new bike, a new track to learn - and the best riders of modified streetbike machines in the world to compete against. We will give him all the tools and support we can. There will be at least a couple of other substitute riders in different teams at this round, so our aim for David is to try and beat them.?


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Pata Honda confirms 2014 SBK line-up

The Pata Honda World Superbike team has announced that it will retain the same rider line-up of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam heading into the 2014 world championship season.

Rea is currently recuperating from a fractured left femur that he sustained in a crash at N?rburgring in Germany last month, but the 26-year-old from Northern Ireland is making a good recovery and is optimistic about the possibility of riding his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade again before then end of the year.

Rea began his world championship career with the Ten Kate-run Honda team in the 2008 World Supersport series before moving up to World Superbikes in 2009, since when he has secured 33 podiums from 116 races, including 11 race victories.

He will once again partner fellow British rider Leon Haslam who joined the team for the 2013 season, which has unfortunately been affected by a broken leg he sustained at Assen in the Netherlands in April.

Haslam, 30, has contest 155 World Superbike championship races, a third of which have been on Honda?s CBR machine. The British rider has achieved a total of three race wins and 28 podium finishes since his first SBK race in 2003, and he finished as runner-up in the series in 2010.

Jonathan Rea

It's been a big decision that I've thought long and hard about because there were some other options to consider. However, at the end of the day it was an easy choice because of the faith and respect that I have for the team that I've been with for six years and the company that I have been with my entire career. I know how hard the guys work to make the Honda competitive and I know that we have the potential to fight again for more podiums and race wins and the championship next season. Those podiums and wins are what motivate all of us and that's why I know that everyone will pull out the stops over the winter again to make them happen. We will go into the testing programme in a much better position than we were in 12 months ago because we've worked so hard to get the new electronics package to work this season. I am as motivated as ever and really looking forward to riding my bike again.

Leon Haslam

I?m very happy to have another go at it, really! This season has been pretty non-existent with the injury and the big learning curve we?ve had with the new electronics. So I?m excited to get back to full fitness and to have good go with the bike and see if we can turn the potential into success. We?ve made some really good steps recently but that?s been combined with some bad luck this year. Hopefully, that?s all out of the way now and we can keep making progress in the last few races and over winter testing. The Haslam link to Honda has been strong for many years and it was fantastic to win the Suzuka 8-hour this year. Hopefully we can go back and defend that next year, and I can?t wait to go into the next World Superbike season with the same bike, the same guys and have a proper go at it.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager

Jonathan has demonstrated great faith in this team over the years and we are, of course, overjoyed to have him back for a sixth World Superbike campaign. We have got to know each other very well over the years and one thing that comes across is his consistent and tenacious desire to get the very best out of the CBR ? something he does year after year. Of course, with injuries, it has not been an easy season for him or for his team-mate, so we are very happy that Leon will join us again for next season. With two fit riders and some further development on the bike, we can look forward to 2014 with renewed confidence and optimism.

Carlo Fiorani - racing operations manager, Honda Motor Europe

I do not think it is a secret that both Jonathan and Leon had some other options to consider for 2014, so we are, of course, delighted that we will be working with them again. We believe that there is a great level of mutual respect between us and we know that we have two fully-motivated riders who have the potential to fight for top honours. It?s good that they, too, know that the Honda they ride has equal potential and that they will have a team around them to help get the results that we all want to see. For many reasons, 2013 has been a difficult year for everyone, so we all hope that, with Dorna taking the series to new levels, we can have a 2014 season that is safe and successful, both for the riders and for the whole team.


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2014 Testing Continues For Sykes And Baz At Jerez

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.
2014 Testing Continues For Sykes And Baz At Jerez
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.?


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Crescent Suzuki has signed 2012 eni FIM Superbike World Championship runner-up Eugene Laverty to lead the team?s assault on next year?s title fight.

The 27-year-old Irishman will join the team with immediate effect and will participate in the team?s final test of the season at Jerez on November 25th and 26th, where he will get his first taste of the Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R. Prior to the test, Laverty will be at the ?Motorcycle Live? Show on Saturday November 23rd at the NEC in Birmingham as a guest of Suzuki UK, where he will make his first official appearance as a Suzuki rider.

Laverty won a staggering nine races in 2013 and headed to the final round of the season with a chance of the championship, where - despite winning both races ? he narrowly missed out on the title. The Irishman brings with him a wealth of experience gained throughout many different championships in his career including British 125cc Championship, MotoGP? 250cc division and twice runner-up in the World Supersport class.

The Crescent Suzuki team is currently pushing forward with an aggressive development plan for the GSX-R1000 Superbike in order to further increase its competitive level in 2014, and looks forward to matching these improvements to the clear racing ability of its new rider.

Eugene Laverty:

"I'm delighted to join Crescent Suzuki for the 2014 season. I will try the GSX-R1000 for the first time at the end of this month to better understand our potential, and I am really excited to see what I can do with the bike. Thank you to Paul Denning and his team, and to Suzuki, for pushing so hard for this deal and for believing in me. I will give everything I possibly can to bring Suzuki to the top of the podium again!"

Paul Denning ? Team Manager:

?It is an exciting prospect for the Crescent Suzuki team to have secured the services of a rider of Eugene?s calibre. He has shown regularly this season that he has the determination, ability and technique to secure superb results, even when things are against him. Eugene brings a different level of expectation to the team and it is now up to us to give him the tool for the job. We have made big steps this season with the GSX-R, and with further developments planned for 2014 I am convinced that Eugene will be able to get the maximum potential from the Suzuki.?


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Ducati announce 2014 World Superbike riders

Following the announcement of the mutual decision to conclude early the partnership with Team Alstare, Ducati today confirm its participation in the 2014 World Superbike Championship and its agreement with the riders who will compete aboard the Ducati 1199 Panigale motorcycles.

Welsh rider, Chaz Davies, and the Italian, Davide Giugliano, are both now officially confirmed to compete for the Italian manufacturer during the 2014 and 2015 World Superbike seasons. This is an important decision for Ducati, determined to bounce back after a year of disappointing results for the 1199 Panigale, which failed to deliver the results expected in World Superbike despite its considerable success in many national championships and the highly-competitive FIM Superstock Cup.

The new Ducati Superbike riders will immediately join technicians of the Ducati development team to start work 30-31 October at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), carrying out the first of three test sessions planned for the winter break.

More detailed information concerning the organisation and management of the team will be available in the coming weeks.

Rider profiles:

Chaz Davies was born 10 February, 1987 in Knighton, Wales (UK) and first started racing in minimoto in 1995, winning the championship title in this rookie category the following year and retaining it until 1998. From 2002-2006 he competed at World Championship level in the 125GP category, moving up to 250GP soon after. After additional experience in the AMA championship he was selected to take part in the World Supersport Championship and in 2011 became World Supersport Champion. The following year he moved up to World Superbike, a category in which he scored his first victory in 2012 and three more in 2013.

Davide Giugliano was born in Rome on 28 October, 1989 and started his racing career in 2005 by competing in the European Superstock 600 championship, finishing third in the championship the following year. After a year in the World Supersport Championship he switched to FIM Superstock 1000 Cup and in 2011 rode the Ducati 1098 R to championship victory competing for the Althea Racing team. Giugliano made his Superbike debut in 2011, riding as a wildcard at Portim?o immediately after clinching the Superstock Cup title. In 2012 he became an official rider for the Genesio Bevilacqua team alongside Carlos Checa, taking two podiums and closing the season 10th overall. In 2013, he achieved one pole position and two more podiums in the World Superbike series, finishing the championship in 6th position.


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MV AGUSTA makes its official return to racing with the russian YAKHNICH MOTORSPORT team

MV Agusta Reparto Corse - Yakhnich Motorsport
Varese, 14 November 2013 - More than 37 years after its last success in the World Championship, MV Agusta makes its official return to championship racing.

The historic Italian brand that has one of the most significant trophy collections in the history of motorcycling, with 37 constructors? and 38 rider world championship titles, has said "yes" to an official return to competition and it will do it thanks to an agreement made over the last few days between the President of MV Agusta Motor S.p.A., Giovanni Castiglioni, and Alexander Yakhnich, owner of Yakhnich Motorsport.

The Russian Yakhnich Motorsport team has already shown that they are one of the strongest teams in the racing world by winning the 2013 World Supersport title, just two years after their rookie year in the championship.

Since Yakhnich Motorsport is the organiser of the World Superbike round in Russia, the cooperation with them will also be important in terms of international relations between Italy and Russia.

In fact, the agreement signed by the Italian manufacturer and the Russian team results in the formation of the Official ?MV Agusta Reparto Corse - Yakhnich Motorsport? Team, which will participate in the World Superbike and World Supersport Championships starting in the 2014 season.

MV Agusta and Yakhnich Motorsport will be jointly committed to developing the bike for World Superbike and Supersport. They will also closely work together to build replica bikes for satellite teams that may decide to race with the glorious Italian brand.

With this agreement MV Agusta and Yakhnich Motorsport also anticipate a long-term cooperation, so as to develop important commercial, industrial and communication synergies together in the Russian territory.

The goal for the 2014 season is to compete as a key player in Supersport, in which the F3 has already demonstrated a high level of competitiveness in 2013, and to develop the F4 RR for the Superbike World Championship (Factory derivative category) in anticipation of being a leading protagonist in the 2015 season.

The MV Agusta Reparto Corse - Yakhnich Motorsport team will debut with two riders in the Supersport class and one rider in Superbike, whose names will be announced by the end of November.

Yakhnich Motorsport and MV Agusta will be fully committed to renewing the glory of the historic Italian brand and building a new history for Yakhnich Motorsport.

At the contract signing Giovanni Castiglioni, President of MV Agusta, had this to say: "The official return to racing is a very important and ambitious step for MV Agusta. However, my decision came from the heart. Racing was always my father's great passion and he led his companies to victory in every speciality: from the 500 Class and the Paris-Dakar with the legendary Cagiva to the first world championships won in Superbike with Ducati and on dirt with Husqvarna. But his true dream was to see MV race again. I am very proud to be able to see that happen."

Alexander Yakhnich, President of Yakhnich Motorsport said: ?We worked hard to achieve great results in 2013. With MV Agusta, new and important opportunities are opened up to us. We are very pleased with this agreement and we are counting on fresh victories very soon.?


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Happy Track Return For SBK Riders Sykes And Baz
Newsflash, 17 January 2014
Friday 17 January saw the completion of the first test of the new SBK season for KRT riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz, with both lapping confidently and at pace at the Spanish circuit of Almeria.
Happy Track Return For SBK Riders Sykes And Baz
During a two-day test the team worked through the new and existing race parts fitted to the Ninja ZX-10R. The riders ended up setting very good lap times on day two at a circuit which is not used for regular SBK competition.

Sykes set a 1?34.0 on race tyres, while Baz posted the same lap time using a qualifying rear and made a 1?34.5 on a race tyre.

For Sykes the test at Almeria began a season in which he will be going for back-to-back Superbike World Championship titles on the awesome official Ninja ZX-10R. Tom made 33 laps on the first day at Almeria, and then 83 on the second day, completing the schedule of planned work despite suffering a little with a head and chest cold.

Loris Baz was in particularly good form compared to his previous outings at Almeria, going over three seconds faster than he managed at the Spanish track at the corresponding tests at this time last season. The French rider, who will soon celebrate his 21st birthday on February 1, did 42 laps on day one at Almeria and 65 on day two.

The Kawasaki Racing Team personnel will reconvene in Barcelona for the team launch at the end of January and then take to the track in Spain once more, at the Jerez circuit between 5 and 6 February. The first round of the 2014 championship takes place on 23 February at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.

Tom Sykes:
?The test went well and the schedule of work we had to get through was completed. We have evaluated everything and it has all been positive. We did over 80 laps on the final day and I feel we made a step forward. I have a bit of a cold so I personally have not been feeling 100% but having said that the Ninja ZX-10R was working well. We were able to make some good lap times and evaluate a few things so we are one step closer in our preparations for Phillip Island. We understand things a bit more clearly and now I am looking forward to the next test at Jerez.?

Loris Baz: ?A good test at Almeria. We just wanted to try a lot of things that we had already tried in Jerez last time out. We wanted to confirm them, and the overall feeling with the bike, and it was very good. I am really happy with the test especially at this track, which is one of the most difficult ones for me. It is very small and slow and I improved more than three seconds a lap compared to when I was here last year. The good things we found with the set-up at the Jerez test last time out also worked for us at this different style of track in Almeria. Now we have the official team launch, then another test at Jerez, and then we go to Australia.?

Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes? Crew Chief:
?We approached this test as more of a function test more than a performance test. We received some small items for the chassis and the engine and we tested those. On the final day the weather was sunny but still a little cool and we made 83 laps. We had tested the material that we needed to test by the time we had finished.?

Pere Riba, Loris Baz?s Crew Chief: ?This was a very good test because the target for the riders after the winter break was to get on the bike and get used to it again. We made another step forward with Loris during this winter and KHI also made some new parts we requested after the previous tests. We put everything together and it seems to be going in a good way. Last time we tested, at Jerez, Loris had already found another level. Everything is coming together again, so I am very pleased. Right away Loris was very fast, and close to Tom. Almeria is not a fast track with fast corners, so it should be a more difficult place for Loris?s riding style, but even here he showed a really good improvement compared to last year at Almeria. He looks very powerful and he is still learning, so we are very happy.?


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Eugene Laverty concluded Friday?s practice sessions at the Spanish Motorland Aragon circuit in a positive mind-set after making headway on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Laverty, initially struggling with set-up on-board the Yoshimura-powered machine, ended the day?s two-sessions stepping-up - in both time and position - to eighth with a lap of 1?58.971 after re-evaluating the Suzuki GSX-R1000?s electronics and chassis balance; and is confident with the bike?s potential for the weekend ahead.

Alex Lowes ended his first experience of the 5,078m Teruel track in 11th position with a time of 2?00.309, despite having only-ever completed 29 laps of the Spanish circuit. The British-rider finished the day frustrated, but determined to improve and his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team is confident that his pace is strong; given his limited track experience.

A warm and sunny Motorland Aragon played host to the opening European action of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, with air temperatures reaching 25?C ahead of the afternoon practice session.

With a similar forecast set for tomorrow, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will use today?s data to evaluate the GSX-Rs performance ahead of the final timed-for-qualifying free practice session at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST). The afternoon?s two all-important Superpole battles will commence at 15:00hrs local time (14:00BST).

Eugene Laverty:

?A difficult day, but we expected it to be tough here, and it?s good that we had two dry sessions testing the bike to allow us to improve. We made a good start this afternoon with the feeling on the front but we still need to improve the turn-in. Aragon has a long straight and we are working hard to allow us to keep-up with the Aprilias, but it?s going to be tough. We had a frustrating time at Jerez, with a number of issues that we are working through, but the lap-times are good considering the problems we?re facing. It?s going to be a tough job to keep at the front, but we are confident we can progress as the weekend goes on.?

Alex Lowes:

?My first day at the track, and it?s been quite difficult, but I?m looking forward to sleeping-on-it tonight and making some improvements tomorrow. I?m learning the track quickly, so it?s just a case of getting back out on the Suzuki GSX-R in the morning and continuing the progress we?ve been making so far.?

Paul Denning ? Team Manager:

?First day here at Aragon hasn?t gone absolutely to plan, but we were very pleased, particularly on Eugene?s side, to see some big improvements towards the end of the day. We now have a solid base to work on, to allow us to close the gap on the fastest riders before the races on Sunday. We are potentially lacking just a little bit of balance in the bike, the new swingarm has improved certain aspects of the handling, but we need to very carefully-check whether it has caused any negatives elsewhere, and come-out with the best package we possibly can for both riders in the morning.

?Alex is disappointed but he shouldn?t be! He has only spent two 45-minute sessions on his race-bike around this track; compared to the guys who have done thousands in races and tests. With a night?s sleep under his belt, and a careful look at what we can do to improve the bike, I?m sure he?ll make big steps forward tomorrow; and as a team, we are looking forward to the rest of the weekend.?

Aragon ? eni FIM Superbike World Championship ? Free Practice combined times: 1. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1?58.180: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1?58.417: 3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1?58.575: 4. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1?58.579: 5. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1?58717: 8. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 1?58.971: 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 2?00.309.


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Mid Season Tests Complete For KRT Riders

All three of Kawasaki Racing Team?s riders, Tom Sykes and Loris Baz in the full Superbike class and David Salom in the Evo category, took part in the official tests at Portimao between 21 and 22 July, before the long summer break in track action begins in earnest.
With the season not restarting until early September this was the last chance in 2014 for the team to make larger set-up and technical developments before the cycle of race weekends begin again at Jerez in Spain.

Positive feedback with set-up changes gave both championship leader Sykes and top contender Baz good directions to head in to complete the current season in the best way possible.

Salom evaluated technical changes designed to meet the new demands of the 2015 regulations, with some full SBK items fitted to the Ninja ZX-10R Evo machine to start to understand its full potential under the new rules.

Using race tyres only, and with transponders fitted to all the machines, Sykes set the best lap time of the tests with a 1?42.719 while Baz made his best improvements on the final afternoon, setting a 1?43.110. Salom set a positive 1?44.487 best lap, despite being in the very early stages of the 2015 technical development package.

Tom Sykes: ?On day one we put in 70 laps and we started some good work on some things. We have played with the geometry of the bike, and other things you cannot really do on a race weekend. The plan on day two was to go more in depth with some items but we had some issues and were not able to fully complete our test schedule. I only used one tyre on the final day and when we got back out on the track later on the day we still did competitive times on it at the end. So we have improved the bike again on used tyres. We still had some things to test, and it is not a big issue, but it would have been nice to have fine-tuned the bike even more. We ended up with a good lap time on day two. The bigger picture is that we can still go racing competitively and we feel we have improved the bike again during this test.?

Loris Baz: ?I am happy with the lap times we set this afternoon. We lost some track time but on the final afternoon we set some good laps and made up time to the others. We took some steps forward and even though the track was a bit slower in the afternoon we still improved our times at the end. I am happy to have finished fastest in the afternoon session, and third fastest of the day. For sure we found some good things on the bike set-up. We went faster than we did in the race and we only used race tyres.?

David Salom: ?We worked on the 2015 developments of the bike and it went well. We tried many new parts on the bike and it was very good. The main difference was in the electronic parts. We got some good track time in and I really enjoyed riding it.?

Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes? Crew Chief: ?Over the winter we worked on one of the most important limitations we used to have on the set-up and after testing we made a nice step. At a certain point, however, you have to start on the new season. During the season we understood that we could make another step and had some interesting things to try. During the race weekends we do not have time to make these kinds of adjustments. In testing we do have time and on the first day here we concentrated in two areas and both gave us the results we were expecting. We could not finish our complete schedule but we improved the overall race set-up.?

Pere Riba, Loris Baz? Crew Chief: ?On day one had we had some issues and we lost quite a lot of time but today we got to try some new parts on the chassis side and that was very positive. Lap times were improved compared to the race weekend and Loris was almost as fast with a race tyre today as he had been with his qualifying tyre in the race. His overall rhythm was improved as well and with old tyres we found a better race pace. We will analyse everything now and see the direction for the next races.?

Toni Alfosea, David Salom?s Crew Chief:
?We only worked with 2015 material at this test to develop the race bike for the new regulations next year. We worked on the electronics in particular and some parts for the chassis side. The first feelings were OK, and the electronics worked well straight away, but we are only starting work on the chassis settings. We tried many things here and the level of the bike was good for a first test.?


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Tom Sykes To Remain With KRT For Two More Years

Reigning World Champion Tom Sykes has recently signed an agreement to continue as an official Kawasaki Superbike World Championship rider for two more years, covering the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Yorkshireman Sykes (29) won the title with Kawasaki in 2013 and is currently in a commanding 44-point lead in the 2014 championship as Kawasaki continues its ?Ninja 30? anniversary celebrations throughout the year. Having competed on official Kawasaki machinery since the 2010 season Tom has become ?Mr Kawasaki? in the eyes of not only his many fans but also the Kawasaki family and the world at large.

Sykes has won all of his 22 career WSBK race victories to date with Kawasaki and is the most successful rider in Superpole qualifying in the modern era, with 23 Superpole wins - again all on Ninja ZX-10R machines. In 151 race starts in WSB Sykes has taken 46 podiums and 21 fastest laps.

The 2015 season and beyond will present a new challenge for all involved in the KRT effort, as the technical regulations will change in some significant ways, but Sykes and Kawasaki are confident that the class-leading Ninja ZX-10R will be a competitive package in any form of production-derived racing.

Tom Sykes: ?I am very excited to re-sign and the decision was quite easy. I am looking forward to another two years with a great manufacturer. Kawasaki and I already have quite a good history. This is my fifth year as a rider with the brand, my fourth year with the current model of the Ninja ZX-10R, so for me it was an easy decision to continue.

I have put so much work into the bike I would not want to give my baby to someone else! We have been in discussion for a while but we have had really good success in recent years and continuing our relationship gives us an opportunity to take the story forward again. I sat at home and went through the pros and cons, like you do with a lot of things in life, and the pros for re-signing were almost endless.

I am very happy because Kawasaki and I have a high level of mutual respect and trust. The team is doing a great job so it is great to have two more years of continuity. I am relaxed now I know that I am moving on again with a great brand and a great team around me. I feel proud to have been involved in helping the development direction of the Ninja, so I am very happy to be staying where I am.?

Steve Guttridge, Racing Manager Kawasaki Motors Europe: ?I'm so pleased that we have come to an agreement with Tom to continue the great job that he has been making in World Superbike on our Ninja ZX-10R over the past few seasons. He's our World Champion and a great ambassador for our brand too. At this moment we are very committed to continuing our dominance in Superbike racing and Tom is the man to help Kawasaki do just that."

Guim Roda, Team Manager Kawasaki Racing Team: ?It is very good that Kawasaki and Tom have signed again for 2015 and 2016 as it is a very good point to work towards the new rules coming in 2015, and make another strong season in 2016. Tom knows the bike and team very well and I can guarantee he has still not arrived at the limit of his full potential. This is a very good opportunity to continue with great stability so we can improve the package and be even stronger next year.

The show will go on! I?m sure this is very good news for all Kawasaki fans and we want to say thanks for all the support shown to the KRT team and riders. I hope now we can enjoy a nice holiday during the current summer break and that Tom rests enough to remain very strong in the last part of the season.?