Sykes already up to speed for 2014 season

By Gordon Ritchie -

World Superbikes

 05 November 2013 16:01

Despite winning the World Superbike Championship just over two weeks ago, Tom Sykes and his factory Kawasaki squad were out testing at Jerez for the second time in just over a week.

Sykes and his team-mate Loris Baz made good use of the fine weather to set lap times of 1’40.4 for Sykes and 1’41.2 for Baz.

Sykes’ time was way under his lap record, and even undercut Eugene Laverty’s stunning qualifying best of 1’40.620.

Sykes’ official Kawasaki team worked on lots of 2014 material including new Showa front forks and other suspension changes, plus new electronics settings.

Sykes set over 160 laps across two days, Baz a little less because he is still recovering from a fractured T4 vertebra, and is still building up muscle fitness after his one-day test at Jerez on 22 October.

Speaking to MCN, Sykes said: “We did our fair share of laps! The test was very good and I am much more comfortable with the bike. We had some limitations when I was following Eugene in the Jerez race and I feel we have been addressing those issues.

"We ran some fast lap times on our race tyres. For both feeling on the bike and lap times it has proved very positive. It is great to do this test because we will start to get into colder weather soon and we will not be able to test as efficiently.”

The Kawasaki factory bikes once again ran a matt black colour scheme as part of the team’s 2014 winter test imagine, with Sykes and Baz each in special black and white leathers.

Sykes is, inevitably, feeling the additional responsibility and focus of his new status as World champion, with PR duties as well as lots more testing about to take up a lot of his supposed down time. “I also have the Milan show, the NEC show, the Paris show, so I will be well travelled,” said Sykes.