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Sykes’ confidence booster for Assen

Published: 13 April 2011

Updated: 24 November 2014

PBM Kawasaki factory rider Tom Sykes goes to the Assen WSB round this week full of confidence after topping the times in the one-day test at Brands Hatch yesterday (Tuesday).

Rather than try to test some different set-ups and waste valuable track time during practice at Assen, the PBM team dropped in on the Brands BSB test with Sykes and Chris Vermeulen - and the plan worked to perfection for Sykes.

He told MCN: “We got three issues put to bed today – things we wanted to see if we were ballpark. We tried some new ideas and they worked out well. If they hadn’t, we could have gone to Assen with what we had before but, in all honesty, it’s been a positive day.

“We had some issues with geometry that we’ve been trying to cure to improve the balance of the bike. We tested some ideas and found a bit of time there.

“Race two at Donington it’s no secret we had some issues with the engine braking strategies. We made changes here and the bike is miles better now.

“We also tried a different clutch lever to give me more feel. That worked too so I’m looking forward to go to Assen.”

Sykes was dominant when he raced the old bike at Brands last year but that was on the long circuit. But he said the first part of the short Indy bowl was enough proof on how the all-new ZX-10 is an improvement.

“The first four corners I can tell my apex speed is so much higher,” he said. “Before at Druids for example I used to have to stop it mid-corner and sit the bike up to fire it out. Now I just keep the corner speed up, the bike holds a line and keeps turning.

“I did a 45.6 best today but I did a string of middle 45s and we even came here with the Assen gearbox in. Not touched it.”

Team-mate Chris Vermeulen is still recuperating from knee surgery but he was looking a lot more comfortable on the ZX-10 at Brands.

He said: “We’re getting close now. I’m trying to get as much time on the bike as I can. This is the best physio for my knee. It’s still sore but getting better all the time and the swelling and pain after I’ve ridden is a lot less.”

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