Sykes set a best lap time of 1’57.2 but of even greater importance he proved that he had largely recovered from the broken left wrist and three broken ribs he picked up in a crash shortly before the first round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship in Australia in late February.
Tom did a high number of laps during this Spanish test, which started on 2 April, working on new components for the chassis and some engine improvements as part of the overall KHI development programme on the official factory Ninja ZX-10R.
Baz, who has recently ridden a World Endurance spec machine, got back on his full KRT SBK bike and boosted his confidence yet again. He found good improvements in his front suspension and expects to find more from the rear come race weekend.
The first two days of testing at Motorland were held in dry conditions, with the strong opening day winds reducing on day two. A wet track to start on the final day cut down the available testing time, then track action was halted for the last time just after 3pm, following another bout of rain. The second round of the championship takes place back at Motorland Aragon, with raceday on Sunday 14th April.
Tom Sykes: “I think that my wrist is about 80% and my ribs 98% back to normal, so that was good. I was able to ride the bike again without too many limitations. We had some rain in the final afternoon but we had already finished just about everything we had wanted to do at the end of the second day. We were going to do a couple of long runs on two different settings today but the rain interrupted that. We have put a lot of laps on our tyres here and we still have all of race weekend to check out the final tyre situation for raceday. This test has also brought us some benefits in performance.”
Loris Baz: “The test went really well for us, although I was not fighting for a lap time, just for improved consistency. I tried to improve my feeling with this track and we made a big step with the front end. We wanted to concentrate on the rear grip today but it started to rain early in the afternoon, so we did not try everything we wanted. But what we did try was a big improvement. We had some new suspension parts, on the forks, and they gave me good support in the front. I go into corners with quite a lot of brake so I need that. I also made a step using a qualifying set-up.”
Crew Chief for Tom Sykes, Marcel Duinker: “It was a good test for us. We tested some things on the chassis and had some engine updates. We found our speed straight away because we know this track so well, and within a few laps Tom was doing low 1’59s. We knew that the weather on the third day might have disturbed our test programme so from the first day onwards we got through all our items. We built our best package to try some long runs on day three but unfortunately we got interrupted a bit by the rain. I believe we are already strong on the chassis and engine so, let’s say, it looks like we got to where I hoped we would.”
Crew Chief for Loris Baz, Pere Riba: “The test was helpful because we have been preparing some points to improve and had some parts to test. We also confirmed the set-up we used in Australia. Also, Loris had come from riding another specification of bike, testing for Endurance racing, so the official SBK bike is a little different. But he got the feel for our bike again quite quickly. It was disappointing to find some rain on the final day because we still had some things to test but I can say that it was still a positive test.”