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 on 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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