Tom Sykes ended the opening raceday of the year with two strong top ten finishes on the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R, and is overall eighth in the championship standings as the series leaves Australia.Tom, starting from tenth place on the grid, was eighth in the first 22-lap contest, and then ninth on race two. After heavy overnight rains and a wet-warm-up, raceday itself was dry and sunny, but the rains changed the track characteristics from those of practice or the recent IMS tests. This led to changes to set-up being made between the races, when more data had been gathered.
Joan Lascorz showed strong pace at times in his Superbike racing debut, but a fall in race one and a lack of strength thereafter eventually saw him pull out of the second race. Lascorz had opted for a soft rear tyre in the second race, which proved to be not the optimum choice, although it helped with manoeuvrability in the early laps.The team now returns to its regular base in Europe and all the PBM team members will now face a home round in the UK, at Donington Park between 25 and 27 March.
Roby Rolfo (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) had two very impressive rides in his return to World Superbike, taking his Ninja ZX-10R to one 11th and one 12th place finish, and overall 12th in the standings. Bryan Staring, a wild card rider for Pedercini, was 15th in race one, scoring one point.
Tom Sykes: “We got two top nine positions and an eighth overall in the championship so it is probably not a bad start. In race one I got a good run off the line but I was not able to go with the other riders in the early laps. I caught them back up at the end. In race two I could not engage neutral coming up to the line, so that did not help my race start and I was well back in the order. The changes we made for race two were good; I had better grip. I faded a bit in the middle and came very strong again at the end. If I had got away clean, I am sure a sixth position would have been on the cards. No ifs and buts, it is still a new bike and everybody is realistic, we know where we need to improve and we are looking forward to even brighter things.”
Joan Lascorz: “I had the pace early in the first race and was quite happy but then I ran off the track, because I had some chatter and had to run straight on at turn nine. I was heading for the wall and I fell off on the grass. In the second race it was impossible to finish because I was in a lot of pain and had no power in my body. In race two we had changed the bike and put in a soft rear tyre, and it made it easier to turn. I could make a good pace again, but then it started sliding. Overall, I have to look to the next race but I feel we showed that we have some good pace but in races it was difficult today. I am building for the next race at Donington, working to be fully ready.”