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 Ninja ZX-10R 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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