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.”