Andrews getting to grips with the Kawasaki
Simon Andrews, ever the optimist says he’s driving up to Knockhill today, wearing his shorts and flip-flops.
He’s looking forward to a scorching weekend, not just to sun himself but to maximise everything he and the MSS Colchester Kawasaki team learned at last weekend’s Donington WSB round.
It was Andrews first-ever WSB meeting, thanks largely to the team securing last-minute one-off backing from insurance comparison website, confused.com.
But from the outside it didn’t look great when, after a promising start from a lowly 26th on the grid, he faded to 20th place in race one.
But a rake of small changes made a big difference to how the ZX-10R worked on the track and Andrews put in a blistering ride through the pack to finish tenth.
Andrews said: “It was a strange weekend. We’d been quick the previous weekend at the Snetterton BSB round in practice but come the races we had some issues.
"A tyre spun on the rim in the first race then we had an issue with the forks (Ohlins) in race two left us with no rebound.
"So we hoped to resolve the issues at Donington but it wasn’t that simple. The team worked really hard, as did K-Tech who were helping us with new forks (K-Tech’s own) to get the bike sorted.
"We were up to one, two in the morning just working through data to try and understand what the real issues were.”
The rake of mods over the weekend – not big changes but small ones that had a big effect on the machine - included altering the overall wheelbase, changing the forks, the shock and rear ride height.
Andrews said: “Suddenly the bike steered and the tyres stayed in good condition. In the first race I finished 20th and felt like death because the rear tyre had gone off and the bike was so hard to ride.
"In the second one I could have stayed out riding all day. It steered where I wanted it to and the tyres worked really well.”
Andrews got a good chance to compare his bike against the factory WSB Kawasaki of Broc Parkes – who he beat in the second race.
“His bike has more punch off the turns,” said Andrews, “but I think that’s just down to a better understanding of their electronics because they’ve more data from a lot of testing. Kagayama’s Suzuki left me for dead down the straights and Smrz’ Ducati was faster too – but not blisteringly so.
“All my passing was done down Craner into the Old Hairpin and the after Schwantz into MacLeans – just as I did in the BSB round there. I was fastest through that section in BSB and I as four tenths quicker this time.”
Andrews has said before that the range in which the Kawasaki operates in, ie the chassis set-up, is limited but he’s still looking forward to BSB Knockhill.
“It (the chassis set-up) is maybe a little better now because we’ve learned a lot from Donington. Knockhill’s a very different track but we did okay there last year – even though I had a broken hand.
"I’ve not ridden the Kawasaki at Knockhill before and so far this year, every track we go to the set-up is different but I’m sure we’ll get it sorted and I think I’m riding well enough to be a consistent top five or six.
"We were right up at the top end of the timesheets at Snetterton in practice and it was only in the race things went wrong so I’m pretty confident.
“I just hope the weather stays sunny. I’ve only got my shorts and flip-flops with me!”