Sykes Shatters Aragon Superbike Record

2012 World Superbike Testing

Four teams participated in World Superbike testing at Motorland Aragon in Spain Sunday and Monday – the Kawasaki Racing Team, Aprilia Racing, BMW Motorrad and Kawasaki Pedercini.

And when the two-day test was complete, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes shattered the track’s lap record Sunday; the Brit posted a 1:58.4, four-tenths quicker than the Carlos Checa’s lap record set during the debut World SBK race at Aragon last year.

But Sykes wasn’t done; on Monday, on softer Pirelli tires, he posted a 1:57.2, almost a half a second quicker than the pole time set by Marco Melandri last season (Yamaha Racing Team, 1:57.634).

Following a second behind Sykes was BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam, who experimented with a new-spec engine aboard the S1000RR.

Third quickest was Sykes’ teammate Joan Lascorz, with the 2010 World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi fourth fastest with a time of 1:58.8 aboard the Aprilia Team RSV4, the Italian testing a new EVO-Spec engine. Rounding out the top five was the other BMW Motorrad rider, Melandri.

Although quickest, Sykes suffered a crash during the WSBK tests, causing a stiff neck and bruises. But Sykes, who finished 4-3 at Phillip Island last month, says he’ll be 100-percent fit for Round 2 of 14 in the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Imola in two weeks (April 1).

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Superbike) says: "I think we can be very pleased because we improved the feeling with the Ninja ZX-10R and I was able to manage my lap times a little bit easier. We improved the performance on race tires at this track so hopefully that will improve our race times at the other tracks.

"We found better feedback and front traction at this test. I did a 1’57.2 on race tires today. The weather has been kind to us through this test, even if it was a little cold and quite windy, but conditions were quite consistent. I was a bit sore after my early fall, so my physical condition is not the best and that did not help me on the bike.

"It was a small mistake as I caught the gear lever on a fast downhill left. I am fine, just a bit stiff in my neck, shoulders and hips, but we still put in a good performance today and I will be fine for Imola.

"The team have been working fantastically well and Kawasaki has been progressing forwards, so big thanks to them. We used two bikes in the garage at this test and that saved us a little bit of time. Both bikes feel identical and the overall feeling is great. If we can keep working like this hopefully we can have a nice season."

2012 Aragon World Superbike Test: Overall times (unofficial): 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’57.2; 2. Haslam (BMW) 1’58.2; 3. Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’58.2; 4. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’58.8; 5. Melandri (BMW) 1’59.1; 6. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’59.5; 7. Mercado (Kawasaki) 2’00.9.