WSBK – World Superbike: Ninja Sykes dominates Jerez trials – Tom Sykes, qualifier instead of Caliph

World Superbike: Ninja Sykes dominates Jerez trials

WSBK - World Superbike: Ninja Sykes dominates Jerez trials - Tom Sykes, qualifier instead of Caliph

On the handlebars of his 2016 ZX-10R, Sykes sets the best times of the two days of WSBK test in Jerez (Spain). He precedes the official Ducatis and the two Honda’s while in his R1, Guintoli finished 8th behind the 2015 champion Rea. Explanations.

Tom Sykes, qualifying for the caliph

During the last WSBK tests in Jerez, Sykes took advantage of a super fast track to destroy the circuit record with an "unofficial" best time of 1’39.319 (read again). For the tests at the end of January, the grip was much worse, so that Tom stayed away from his new mark….

Slow down like his little comrades on a wet Tuesday morning and thick fog Wednesday morning, "Major Tom" still managed to complete the 4423 meters of the undulating Andalusian route in less than a minute and forty seconds.

The only driver of these tests to have gone down to 1’40 from the first day, the English Ninja was again the only one to slip below the 1’39 mark the next day (1’39.924 very precisely: see the timesheet on page 4). To do this, he and his team have "explored a lot of parameters"… and put on a soft tire !

"Tom used a Q tire (Qualification, Editor’s note) for his quick turn", does not hide its chief engineer Marcel Duinker, while observing that"the track was different from what it was during the November tests", thus justifying the chrono down by six tenths of a second.

In his own assessment, Sykes does not dwell on his time and prefers to compliment his men and his machine: "this confirms that we have done a good job in terms of development in recent seasons, as this new bike is our "baby" in gestation for several years.".

The 2013 WSBK champion (up 6.5 points from the treble from 2012 to 2014!) Recognizes that he "There are still a few areas where the bike and I need to improve, but finishing the two winter test rounds in Jerez with the best times is good, especially since it’s not my favorite track".

Another source of satisfaction for Sykes: the new Ninja "works well for both pilots", namely him and his teammate Jonathan Rea crowned last year at the controls of the old ZX-10R. A machine that the n ° 65 was just discovering but which suited him devilishly … and better than the 2016 model ?!

"It is clear that the new bike was developed for a different style of riding (the more broken one of Tom Sykes, editor’s note) and she asks you to drive a certain way", analyzes the new" Number One "of the discipline, which only appears in the seventh row of the combined timesheet…

In his defense, Johnny fans will be able to argue that the "Team65" took advantage of these new winter tests to continue to roughen the work rather than fine-tune small adjustments: "we had a new fork spec and different engine setup to try out", specifies the Northern Irish pilot himself.

More importantly: the ruthless "JR" did not wear soft rubber in Jerez. Quite the contrary, "we worked on tires that had done more than 20 laps in order to understand where we are", reveals its chief mechanic Pere Riba.

"We’re just digging through the toolbox and learning more about the new Ninja ZX-10R. We worked calmly and methodically", assures Jonathan before concluding with a funny warning:"if the start was given in Jerez tomorrow, we would not finish seventh"…

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