Kawasaki Racing Team duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes completed a two-day test at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain last week, with positive end result for each rider.
Most of the key elements of Kawasaki’s 2016 Ninja ZX-10R were evaluated at this test, in readiness for the next one in two week’s time, then ultimately a full season of competition in the FIM Superbike World Championship next season.
After trying out some new model components at a one-day Jerez test last September, shortly after winning the Riders’ Championship, Rea did some comparative testing between 2015 and 2016 material at the beginning of this test, before sampling the full 2016 machine for the majority of the time.
Jonathan set a fastest lap of 1’40.6 on the 2016 bike, which is the full WorldSBK spec race version of the new 2016 showroom model, recently unveiled to the world in Spain. He completed 114 laps in total.
Sykes tried both 2015 and 2016 components and machinery at this test but ended up with a more or less complete 2016 set-up in readiness for the next test for the team, to be held at Motorland Aragon between 16 and 17 November.
Rea said: “Honestly, testing is not my favourite part of the job but it has been necessary to make a really constant effort because Kawasaki has brought many new components for the 2016 bike. It has quite a different character from last season so we had to evaluate many things. The main thing was the chassis balance of the bike and we have some positives from that. The engine character is quite different to the 2015 bike as well so we have been working with the electronics to maximise that and make it suit my style. We got through the vast majority of the test items and we are happy because we were able to lap a lot faster than we did during race weekend, with a similar temperature. So that is encouraging.”
Pere Riba, Jonathan Rea’s Crew Chief, stated: “We improved the feeling of the bike for Jonathan step by step and at the same time the lap time was good. On race tyres we did a kind of simulation and the race times were already much faster compared to the fastest race at Jerez this year.”