Rea And Sykes Work On Race Performance At Sepang

2016-05-14 18:15
On a completely resurfaced track at Sepang in Malaysia KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished combined qualifying in tenth and 11th places respectively, as they concentrated their efforts on preparing for race one on Saturday afternoon rather than posting one fast lap time today.


With several other riders putting in soft tyres at the end of the first day, to try and get into Superpole 2 directly, Rea and Sykes preferred to work in their own way with race pace settings, to ensure they are fast over full race distance on the latest model Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

After the first experience of the resurfaced and reprofiled asphalt at the 5.543km circuit in Sepang for all riders it has proved to be grippy, at the possible expense of accelerated tyre wear.

Hence both KRT riders worked right to the end of their available track time on Friday on finding a full race set-up, rather than go for one fast time on fresh tyres towards the end of the second hour.

The session finished just before a wet weather front came in and soaked the track, with thunder and lightning – and a few light spots of rain here and there - the backdrop to the end of the ever-changing second practice session.

Now Tom will go forward to Superpole 1, where he will ride to join Rea and the rest of today’s top ten in Superpole 2. This session will determine the final grid positions for race one on Saturday. The first 16-lap race of the weekend will be held at 16.00 local time in Malaysia.

Jonathan Rea stated: “I am good in the first split time and not so good in the middle two. We focused on using the harder tyre because I think for everybody it is quite a gamble to use the softer tyre on this new tarmac. It seems all the times in front were set on the softer tyres. So we are not panicking and just working for the race. Everything feels fine. We learned quite a lot today because we worked with the bike quite a lot – electronically we changed some things. Our consistency seems quite good it is just that the surface here is bringing a good lap time with the softer tyres.”

Tom Sykes stated: “We focused a lot more on durability and endurance today and I am very happy with our pace considering where we still need to improve. I think we have a good pace over distance. We sacrificed positions in qualifying to get that but it is not the end of the world. We just have to do three extra laps in Superpole tomorrow. I think we are prepared better for the race now after we made a small change, so it was better to understand that that than to put in a new tyre and go for a lap time. If we had done that we would probably have had two more question marks for tomorrow’s race. A 15-minute session on Saturday makes it very tricky to judge your race performance.”

Stand in rider for the injured Sylvain Barrier, Anthony West (Pedercini Racing Team Kawasaki), had a standout first day, going ninth overall and proving to be the fastest Kawasaki rider. Another Aussie, Josh Hook (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) was 18th. Gianluca Vizziello (Go Eleven Team Kawasaki) was 19th and Dominic Schmitter (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) 20th. Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Racing Team Kawasaki) placed 23rd.

Source: Kawasaki Racing Team

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story