Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was fastest in the first tests of the 2013 World Superbike season at Motorland Aragon.
A number of World Superbike teams took to the track at Motorland Aragon for testing during the official start to the 2013 season. The three-day session started October 15th and wrapped on the 17th and Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes came through with the top overall time. 2012 World Superbike champion Max Biaggi trailed the British rider in second and Suzuki’s Leon Camier was third.
All teams were gathered to test the new 17-inch Pirelli’s that will be regulation in 2013. Sykes continued to feel comfortable aboard the ZX-10R with the new tires, but his real concern was to improve on the advances he and his team had made on the bike during the 2012 season.
“Fastest again and that is all well and good but that is not the aim at the moment,” said Sykes. “Our aim is to improve on what we have done with the bike this year, and we have done that here, so overall I am happy. The 17 inch tires seem to work well for me and the Ninja ZX-10R, so that is positive. We have a lot of information and we have more tests planned, to we will keep working in a good direction.”
Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz was still recovering from his crash in the final round at Magny-Cours, but he ran 200 laps over the three days and left the test feeling positive about his preparations for 2013. Overall Baz set the sixth-fastest time out of 10 riders.
“In the end it was a good test and I set a 1’58.5 lap,” said Baz. “I could not improve on that because this afternoon the track was slower, and the winds had picked up, and I was also very tired. When I came here I was still not 100% after my big crash at Magny-Cours, but I was OK. We did a lot of laps, something like 60 on the first day, 70 on the second day and 70 today. We tried a lot of things and I really like the 17-inch tires, which is the most important thing we tried out for our preparation for next year. I am really happy after this test.”
Proceedings went relatively well through the first two days, though occasional winds did disrupt some riders from pushing too hard at times. On the third day Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa locked up his new Ducati 1199 Panigale on the start-finish straight in the morning, causing the bike to leak oil on track and forcing riders to wait while the spill was cleaned up. Checa and his teammate, Davide Giugliano, are still getting used to the new Panigale and will continue testing throughout the winter to be prepared for the start of the 2013 season in late February.
“My impression is positive,” said Checa. “We’re still a little way off in terms of times but we are here to work on the bike and try things out to better understand what is missing and what we need to go faster. This is all a normal part of development work. The 1199 Panigale is an extreme bike and the riding style needed is different too. We are at the start of the journey; we’re still in the first phase and still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Biaggi and teammate Eugene Laverty worked in a similar vein to the Kawasaki team, focusing in on improving performance aboard the RSV4. Michel Fabrizio, now part of the Red Devils Roma team, also piloted an RSV4, with the team switching from Ducati to Aprilia for 2013. The former BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet rider was fifth-fastest in overall time. Camier was joined by new teammate Josh Waters who finished 10th at the end of the sessions.
2013 World Superbike Aragon Test Overall Times:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’57.6
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’57.8
3. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’58.1
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’58.1
5. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’58.4
6. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’58.5
7. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’58.5
8. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’59.4
9. Alex Hofmann (Aprilia) 2’00.7
10. Josh Waters (Suzuki) 2’00.9