MSS Bathams Kawasaki boss Nick Morgan summed up their three day Alcarras test as “one of the most positive experiences we’ve had as a team.”
The team took a full range of bikes, equipment and staff to maximise the three days of tracktime with their four rider set-up and were rewarded with three full days of good weather in Spain.
With new regulations coming into play for the 2012 season, an understanding of the Motec single spec engine management set-up was key to the objectives of the test.
With new crew members and stalwart ‘data man’ Bob Gray methodically working through chassis, engine and electronic parameters, good settings were arrived at across both Superbike and Superstock machines.
Local Spanish ace and good friend of the team, ex-World Supersport winner Pere Riba was also on hand to help with both rider and machine set-up.
With four new team riders and several new technicians, another major element to the test was understanding pit teamwork which could then be applied in the high pressure moments of actual racing and qualifying sessions, something that worked exceptionally well.
Nick Morgan explained, “Yes, we made headway with the bikes but they were already on good pace at the end of last year. What was so rewarding was seeing how the riders all improved their times and have built up such an understanding with their crews, in such a short space of time.
"I feel that we now have very good communication and support for all sides of the garage, which will be invaluable come race weekends.
“The whole test has gone remarkably smoothly, Michael has started to adapt well from riding the Ducati and is enjoying the fresh challenge that the ZX10 brings to him.
"Peter got faster and faster and really kept working at adapting to the bike rather than the other way round which was refreshing. We have been working hard on the new Motec system, which is responding very well and giving him confidence with the limited electronic control we now have.
“On the Superstock side both Leon and Sandra have shown fantastic progression, and are very quickly getting up to speed with their 2012 Superstock ZX10-Rs, they benefitted from some very good technical input from my very good friend Pere Riba who has been a pleasure to have here with us.
"Overall I am very happy with how the test has gone and we are now on a high ready to continue testing in the UK.”
Rutter said: “It’s been a really positive test and we tried a whole rake of things, some which worked others less so, which is why you need to try them now rather than during the season.
"The transition between the Ducati and Kawasaki is huge, especially the seating position, so we tried different things to make it more comfortable for me to ride .The electronics package is good and the power delivery is really tractable which actually surprised me a little.
"I also liked the way the new ZX10R steers, overall happy and we have some good basics for the season.”
Hickman added, “The bike feels strong, my initial impressions have been really positive. We made a few changes throughout the trip but mostly it’s been about learning the bike and getting miles under my belt. We are going in the right direction and keep improving.
"We ended up a fair amount underneath the Spanish lap record – which I’m real happy about! I’ve only been running race tyres and the general feel is great, so I’m happy!”