Portimao: PBM Kawasaki preview

KAWASAKI RACING TEAM HEAD TO PORTUGAL The Kawasaki Racing Team head for round two of the 2010 Hannspree World Superbike Championship next weekend in search of a good performance at the Portimao track on the Portuguese Algarve. New signings...

KAWASAKI RACING TEAM HEAD TO PORTUGAL

The Kawasaki Racing Team head for round two of the 2010 Hannspree World Superbike Championship next weekend in search of a good performance at the Portimao track on the Portuguese Algarve.

New signings Chris Vermeulen and Tom Sykes endured mixed fortunes at the opening round in Australia last month but are upbeat about their chances aboard the factory Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R as the series returns to Europe.

However, Australian former MotoGP race winner Vermeulen is facing a race against time to be fit enough to compete following a second race crash at Phillip Island whereas Yorkshireman Sykes is looking for a better return than his 13th place finish in the opening race which yielded just three points from the weekend.

The lowly points haul didn't typically reflect the performances as Vermeulen was challenging with the leading bunch until he crashed out and Sykes qualified well so both riders are looking to improve.

Portimao, which hosted the final round of the 2009 series, proved to be a good track for the Paul Bird Motorsport Team last year when riders Broc Parkes and Makoto Tamada posted their best cumulative scores of the season so the omens should bode well for the Penrith-based team.

Chris Vermeulen: "My knee is improving each day but at the moment I cannot bend it enough to sit on a bike so I'm hoping by race weekend I will be able to. I did quite a bit of damage to my right knee in the crash at Phillip Island with five tears of ligaments, cartilage and muscle. I still have some swelling in the area, pain and limited movement in my knee joint. I really enjoyed the Portimao circuit which I first rode around in the test earlier this year, it's exciting to ride with the undulations and blind corners and we were reasonably competitive on the ZX-10R. I think this circuit will suit the bike. I haven't been able to do any physical exercise since the crash but I do train very hard and know I will have a good base fitness level to move forward. The challenge for Portimao is to be in the top ten but our goal is to be hopefully even higher up."

Tom Sykes: "I'm really looking forward to the race in Portugal. We've learnt a lot with the bike since Phillip Island and to be honest I'm really happy with the team set-up and how we are working together. I'm feeling positive about the bike as we have a completely different set-up and made valuable progress since we last tested in Portimao in January which adds to my confidence for a decent result here. I have high expectations for myself and the team and I hope we can deliver a good result for PBM and Kawasaki."

Paul Bird, Team Owner: "We were all disappointed with the results in Australia but it's typical of the kind of bad luck I've been having at the start of this year, I think it's rubbed off on the team! Portugal should be better for us as the fact remains we have two world class riders and the whole team is working well. We know we can run well within the top ten as Chris proved in Australia and we have a strong package, so hopefully we can set ourselves up for the rest of the season."

-source: paul bird motorsport

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Chris Vermeulen , Makoto Tamada , Tom Sykes , Paul Bird , Phillip Island