Sykes Sets New SBK Best at Aragon Test

March 20, 2012
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Tom Sykes piloted the KRT Kawasaki ZX-10R to more impressive testing results  setting the fastest SBK lap at the Motorland Aragon circuit during a private two-day test n March.
Tom Sykes piloted the KRT Kawasaki ZX-10R to more impressive testing results, setting the fastest SBK lap at the Motorland Aragon circuit during a private two-day test.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes continues to impress during the opening World Superbike events. The English rider once again topped the timesheet during a private two-day test at the Motorland Aragon circuit. The KRT Kawasaki squad shared the Spanish circuit with the factory BMW and Aprilia teams, as well as the Pedercini Kawasaki effort.

Sykes’ best time of 1’57.2 marks the fastest-ever SBK lap at the Aragon circuit, and a full second quicker than his nearest rival, BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam, with Sykes’ teammate Joan Lascorz even with the Beemer on the unofficial timesheets. Max Biaggi was fourth-fastest, followed by BMW’s Marco Melandri, Aprilia teammate Eugene Laverty and Pedercini’s lone rider at the test, Leandro Mercado.

The impressive testing results echo Sykes’ performances at Phillip Island, where the ZX-10R pilot topped pre-season testing and claimed Superpole at the opening round. Sykes actually beat Carlos Checa’s standing lap record on Sunday, the opening day of the test with a time of 1’58.4. On Monday Sykes slashed a full second on softer tires, in turn besting Marco Melandri’s record-setting 2011 pole position time of 1’57.634.

Said Sykes on his Aragon testing performance: “I think we can be very pleased because we improved the feeling with the Ninja ZX-10R and I was able to manage my lap times a little bit easier. We improved the performance on race tires at this track so hopefully that will improve our race times at the other tracks. We found better feedback and front traction at this test. I did a 1’57.2 on race tires today. The weather has been kind to us through this test, even if it was a little cold and quite windy, but conditions were quite consistent. I was a bit sore after my early fall, so my physical condition is not the best and that did not help me on the bike. It was a small mistake as I caught the gear lever on a fast downhill left. I am fine, just a bit stiff in my neck, shoulders and hips, but we still put in a good performance today and I will be fine for Imola. The team have been working fantastically well and Kawasaki has been progressing forwards, so big thanks to them. We used two bikes in the garage at this test and that saved us a little bit of time. Both bikes feel identical and the overall feeling is great. If we can keep working like this hopefully we can have a nice season.”

Kawasaki also reported some bad news for World Supersport points leader Kenan Sofuoglu. The Supersport team tested at the Imola circuit, where the Turkish rider crashed early in the test. The team reports doctors inserted a screw to stabilize displaced bone in Sofuoglu’s left knee.

“I had a hard crash at Imola and was a bit unlucky to only set a few laps,” said the two-time World Supersport champion in a Kawasaki press release. “It was obvious after a while that something was not right with my knee. I had a lot of pain and I could not ride a bike like that. I have had a screw inserted into my left knee and the operation was a success. I wanted to be ready for the race at Imola, even if it will be painful for a while. It will not disturb my season. We had this problem in testing but hopefully we will be good on race weekend. I cannot wait to get on my bike again in Imola.”

Sofuoglu is expected to participate in the upcoming Imola round.

2012 World Superbike Motorland Aragon Testing Results (Unofficial):
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’57.2
2. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’58.2
3. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’58.2
4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’58.8
5. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’59.1
6. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’59.5
7. Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki) 2’00.9

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