The world awaits the new motorcycle that will replace the current Kawasaki ZX-10R World Superbike in 2011. The official Kawasaki World SBK Racing Team has struggled with the long-in-the-tooth machine but they continued to keep-up a high-pace of development on the 2010 race bike.
Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen had new Showa suspension settings and other new initiatives to try at the recent Imola tests, on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Sykes was able to make best use of them, posting the tenth fastest time of the tests, on the morning of the second day.
Tom Sykes says: “We have done a lot of testing over these two days and that has been really good. We have tested just about everything, made a lot of progress and also seem to have found some consistency on tires, so overall a positive test and we have tried out a lot of stuff.”
With the test at Imola coming so soon after the intense Misano race, Sykes was quick to praise the efforts put in by his team.
“Hats off to the whole of the team; they have worked hard and lots of things have been changed on the bike,” said Tom. “It has been a busy two days and I will definitely sleep well tonight!”
Vermeulen did not attempt to put in a fast time near the end of the tests, his first real test since he hurt his knee way back in February, but he was happy to have found new Pirelli tires that seem to suit the ZX-10R well in race trim.
Chris Vermeulen says: “The new tires that Pirelli has brought have been good. We have gone through some of the parts that have been introduced through the year and this is the first chance I have been able to do something on the bike without being under the pressure of race weekend since my accident. Conditions were pretty extreme so we were trying to get as much good information as we could. Consistently we are a lot closer to the front, so that is very positive.”
The satellite Pedercini Kawasaki team and rider Roger Lee Hayden have also struggled all season as well. And they did not get the benefit of the recent Imola testing time. Being one removed from a Factory Bike that is not up to par, means the youngest Hayden’s superbike is even further off the mark.
None the less, Roger Lee had his very own fan club tribute on the grid at Misano Adriatico, three red, white and blue American supporters dressed in bizarre garb – one of whom was none other than Ben Bostrom, seven times a World SBK race winner.
Ben had come to Italy to see his friend race, and was appropriately – if outrageously – dressed for the hot and sunny weather.
Roger Lee and his team put in another weekend of great effort, but could not score a single points.
Roger Lee Hayden says: “In race 1 we chose a soft tire but after only few laps the bike start to slide a lot because the tire was probably too soft. It was really a difficult race and probably the most disappointing of this season. The bike was completely different to the one I used during the qualifying and so the only thing I could do was try and finish the race.”
He continued, “For race 2 we changed the tire choice and immediately the bike was a lot better and I was able to race closer to the official Kawasaki riders.”
Regarding the new 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R, the development team recently tweeted: “The test machine is ready to go. Motivation is high as we look towards the Suzuka test.”
The 2011 model is stated to have a new engine, new frame, new suspension and innovative technology. The first test of the new stock superbike, that has been announced publically, is scheduled for July 7th.
Another 2011 ZX-10R fan recently tweeted: “According to the Japanese motorcycle magazine, the max. power of new Ninja is around 190PS. I hope it has more than 200PS.”