Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and Loris Baz put in a full two days of testing at Jerez in preparation for the 2014 season.
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and Loris Baz enjoyed two days of perfect weather during a pre-2014 season test at Jerez. It’s the second testing program Kawasaki has run at the circuit in the two weeks since Sykes won the 2013 World Superbike championship.
During the first two test days, immediately following the conclusion of the previous season, Sykes was busy with press and promotional activities so only turned a few laps on Day 1. He skipped Day 2 entirely to enjoy a well-deserved rest at home. Baz, however, made his return to track for the first time since fracturing his D4 vertebra during a warm-up crash at Nurburgring back in September. The French rider did 40 laps in the post-race test and was able to dip into the low 1’42 range, which would have put him within the top-five had he posted the same lap during this year’s Superpole at the circuit. Back and neck pain along with some scattered showers and high wind kept Baz from pushing harder, but his performance left him and his crew feeling optimistic.
The most recent test saw Sykes return with determination to remain the top-dog in Superbike through 2014 and he logged close to 160 laps over the two days.
“This two-day test has been very good and I happy with the way it has gone,” explained Sykes. “We have improved the feel of the Ninja ZX-10R and I am definitely much more comfortable with it. I am leaving the tests in very good spirits because we completed lots of laps and got a lot of work done. If I were to race again tomorrow I would feel more confident and in general I feel better and more relaxed on my bike, especially over race distance. Lap times have not been our focus but we have been running some very good lap times here on race tires. It has been very positive, so I will travel back home a happy man.”
Baz continues to work toward 100% fitness and he spent the two days fine-tuning his ZX-10R set-up. On the second day he had a small set-back after a low-speed crash in the morning, but was uninjured in the incident and returned for more work in the afternoon. In total Baz ran nearly 120 laps over the two days.
“This was quite a big test for me although I did not do as many laps as Tom,” said Baz. “I wanted to take care with my back because it is still not quite 100% yet. It went really well and the weather gave us some really good conditions to work in. I also like the track so it is always good to ride here. I did, I think, 60 laps yesterday and maybe 50 to 55 today. It went well today because I think I was maybe a little too aggressive on the bike on the first day. This morning I had a very slow crash, but I made some good progress this afternoon because we tried good things in many areas. We made a big step compared to last year here and I am very confident for the next tests – and we have quite a few tests to do this winter.”
Sykes and Baz head to Motorland Aragon in two weeks to continue testing.