KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes will restart their preparations for the forthcoming 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship season with a two-day winter test at Jerez between 23rd and 24th January.
With new technical regulations coming into force for the 2018 season, Kawasaki has already met the challenge head on in recent winter tests in Spain, with the Ninja ZX-10RR setting a strong pace. Kawasaki riders will start the season with a maximum 14,100rpm rev limit for their engines, in line with the new regulations.
With the direction of the 2018 official KRT Ninja ZX-10RR development largely set in the post-season tests last year, KHI and team technical staff will now begin more direct preparations to be ready to start the new season.
Champion in 2017, for a historic third time in succession, Rea will be going for his fourth title this season. Rea also scored a record points total of 556 to take his 2017 crown.
Sykes, the world champion for KRT in 2013, will be now be aiming for his second title having finished either second or third overall on his Kawasaki for the past four years.
After the completion of the Jerez tests, KRT will head to Portimao in Portugal for their final European winter tests, between 28th and 29th January. The opening round of the year will take place at Phillip Island in Australia, between 23rd and 25th February.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “After our last winter test of 2017 I remained very busy for a couple of weeks doing PR exercises around the world. It was a welcome break to go back to Australia, where we have just built a new home. It’s become part of my routine now to follow the sun during the off-season to make sure I arrive at the start of the season well rested and well prepared. It’s been amazing and I feel more excited and motivated to ride my bike than ever before. Jerez is a good testing circuit for us as we can confirm the items we tested here in November and continue to work on our 2018 spec ZX-10RR. We can focus a little more on fine tuning the bike and getting my brain up to speed again. With all this in mind, we will approach this test with a step-by-step philosophy.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I am all ready to go again and looking forward to the first test of 2018. I have had a bit of a rest period and now I just want to get back out there. We will pick up where we left off after a positive test session at the end last year. We did a lot of the early work in the previous test, with the specification of the engine and so on. We have changed a couple of things with the overall set-up on the bike recently and I have found a better feeling. After the last test I am very happy and I have confidence in our new direction. Things will be coming up fairly thick and fast now so it is important to make the most of these tests. The first round of the championship is not so far away.”
Guim Roda (KRT Team Manager): “During the winter break were we have been working a lot to prepare everything for the first round in Australia. We will start testing again in Jerez to polish our direction under the new WorldSBK rules. Is our determination to maximize all aspects of our ZX-10RR KRT18 and give the best tools possible to Jonathan and Tom so that they can maintain the high performance levels they have show in the past years. KHI and all our suppliers have been working hard, so let’s see the result at the Jerez tests.”