With the official winter testing ban now finally over - it ended January 15th - three World Superbike teams (Kawasaki, Fixi Crescent Suzuki and Althea Aprilia) will be heading to the Almeria circuit in Spain tomorrow for two-days of private testing, so that the riders can shake off the rustiness and for Kawasaki, it will also be also an occasion to test new parts that have been developed by the Japanese manufacturer over the six week ban.
More teams will be at Jerez next week for another two day private test (January 22 and 23) before the entire WSBK paddock heads to Australia for the official pre-season test that begins at Phillip Island - which has been resurfaced - with the 2013 season opener scheduled for the week after.
Here’s what the Kawasaki team had to say regarding the upcoming Almeria test:
Tom Sykes: “After a nice break over the holiday period I am looking forward to getting back on my Kawasaki. It has been a few weeks now so it will be good to get going again. Almeria is a circuit where we go to stretch our legs a little bit and break ourselves into a new year. We did the same thing last year and it seemed to work for us then, so we are going the same again in 2013. There will be a couple of things we want to try but the main aim is for everybody to get back into it, get up to speed and then away we go.”
Loris Baz: “I am really ready for the season now. I had a good period of time off but it has been a while since we were on track because of the testing ban. I hear we have some new parts to test, in suspension and on the bike, so I am looking to see if we can improve in general and for me to reduce the gap to Tom. It is good to start testing at Almeria because it is a track that is not on the championship so we do not have any pressure and we can go step-by-step at the beginning.”
Guim Roda, Team Manager: “The main reason to go to Almeria is just to get the riders back into the way of riding the bike and get back a feeling for the machine. Almeria is a track with no race reference so it is good to let the riders enjoy riding without any pressure. It is an ideal preparation before we go to the Jerez tests on 22 and 23 January. We will focus on this Almeria test to develop some new things; Showa suspension, brakes and other small details on the bike which have come from development work in Japan.”
The KRT team will have its official launch in Barcelona on January 31st.