TESTING TIMES FOR KAWASAKI RIDERS AT MISANO
Kawasaki Racing Team riders Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen were left disappointed after a tough weekend at round eight of the 2010 Hannspree World Superbike Championship which took place at Misano in Italy today.
Riding the factory Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10Rs, Yorkshireman Sykes and Australian Vermeulen struggled throughout the weekend on the Paul Bird Motorsport-run machines but were rewarded with a lowly points haul each after two hard races.
Having been one of the few teams to not have tested at Misano last week, the Penrith-based team were at a distinct disadvantage from Friday onwards in trying to find a bike set-up suitable for the scorching temperatures of the Adriatic resort. The team had several new items to test but during qualifying, Vermeulen missed out on Superpole for the first time this year as he lost valuable time during the morning session. Sykes took a gamble with a set-up change during Superpole which unfortunately also didn't go his way leaving both Chris and Tom on the fifth and sixth row of the grid respectively.
In the opening race, both riders managed to get clean starts but didn't manage to make up any significant places as they battled down the order, Sykes eventually claiming 15th at the flag, one place ahead of his team-mate.
Race two saw both riders again get away off the line well but unfortunately Tom ran into traffic on the first turn and was shoved to the back in last place. He sustained some damage to the front of the bike but gamely battled on to claw his way back to 16th position just outside the points whereas Chris made up seven places from 21st to 13th on lap one, but eventually had to settle for a single point in 15th.
Going into the next round at Brno on July 11th, Sykes holds 16th place in the championship, with Vermeulen back in 19th having missed a number of rounds through injury.
Tom Sykes: "We tried a big list of things on the bike this weekend but unfortunately we really struggled to get a good set-up in the high track temperatures. We also started on the back foot having not tested here like the majority of teams last week, but that's no excuse as we just had to try and get down to business. Unfortunately our qualifying position didn't help us a lot and it was difficult to play catch up in the races as Misano is a hard track to pass on. In race two I got away to a good start but got caught up in the first corner with a few riders and ended up at the back. My bike suffered on the front due to a clash with another rider but I fought back to 16th from last. It's been a tough weekend and we certainly have work to do but the boys and I will regroup for the test this week in Imola and hopefully get back to the sharp end."
Chris Vermeulen: "It's been a challenging weekend and we were disappointed to have missed out on Superpole for the first time this year. We made small improvements over the weekend and took a different direction for race two which was a big improvement. I ran 12 seconds closer to the front than in race one and we went for a softer tyre on the rear which gave much better grip from the start. We still have a lot of work to do on making progress with the bike but I'm looking forward to the two-day test this week in Imola, my first test since the start of the season, so we can make further progress and be more competitive in the races."
Paul Risbridger, Team Manager: "We approached this weekend with a number of new items to test on the bike and were pleased with the initial results. With many teams having tested at Misano on a number of occasions this year, we were playing catch up from Friday. Unfortunately our race pace wasn't fast enough and having to start from fifth and sixth rows on the grid is tough going at any circuit so our race results suffered. However we will move along to the Imola test this week and make further progress to come back stronger in Brno in a couple of weeks time."