Sykes, who will be out to defend his champion status, set a 1’30.239 on Tuesday morning, which was very close to the circuit best lap, and proved to be the fastest lap of the tests.
Two days of warm and dry track conditions allowed the official Kawasaki team to get down to work in an organised fashion but there were several red flag incidents across the four sessions and two days of testing, losing all the competitors useful track time.
Baz had two falls in these tests but recovered well from each to go sixth overall, and stay close to his team-mate Sykes in terms of lap times. Loris still has some final set-up decisions to make with his team when practice starts on Friday 21st February, to make sure he faces two races on Sunday 23rd in the best possible way.
The official Kawasaki Racing Team SBK Evo machine, under the confident control of David Salom, was the second fastest Evo bike on show in the Phillip Island official tests, and 13th overall in the combined rankings.
The two Superbike races will get underway on Sunday 23rd, with all KRT riders eager to take on the challenge in what is expected to be a closely fought season. There are no less than eight manufacturers represented on the 2014 grid at the first flyaway round.
Tom Sykes: “I am happy with the results of these two days of testing at Phillip Island. In the last couple of days we have done a lot of laps to confirm the remaining test items, so to be fastest and be one of the most consistent riders as well, I have to be very happy with that. Phillip Island has never been our main event, so to speak, so to be up there for pace already is very good. I know the conditions have caught a lot of people out already but I know we can now go to the race weekend with more of a clear understanding of what to do. Now we will turn our focus more on performance, pure performance, over the race weekend. I will go away and have a couple of days winding down and relaxing and come back on Friday morning ready to go again.”
Loris Baz: “Not too bad overall even though I had two falls. I lost the front today on a new setting and missed most of the session. I lost a bit of feeling at that time but I was fifth in the second session this afternoon and the lap times are really close. We have some good information and we know what we can do for the race. We will also have a wider choice of tyres for the race which should help us.”
David Salom: “Things went well and it was a little too hot in the afternoon to improve the lap time again. But in all the sessions we have worked well and the team has improved many aspects of our set-up. We have done a very good job so far. We need some more work on Friday to make the bike a bit better again. We tried front fork setting changes, rear suspension changes, so we know we can still find improvements. I am ready to go into race weekend now.”
Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes’ Crew Chief: “We had a good two days of work and I am happy how it went. This is not our preferred track but we are one of the fastest and most consistent, so we have to be pleased with that. We are ready to race and made all our final confirmations in these tests.”
Pere Riba, Loris Baz’s Crew Chief: “On the first day Loris was very fast straightaway, for pure pace and for rhythm. We found some wear on the tyres so we had to concentrate to help the tyre life. We made some changes to the bike to help the rear but then Loris lost the front. This final afternoon was OK, but we have to keep working. The lap time is there and his pace is not so bad, so I am confident and happy for the weekend and we will keep working hard.
Toni Alfosea, David Salom’s Crew Chief: “Our tests were good and although we were not the fastest Evo bike so far, we were second fastest. We worked very well and have been setting consistently good lap times. I think we have a very good set-up already and a strong base to start official practice with. David has really started to understand what is a good style of riding for this kind of bike after riding a smaller bike last year.”