Thailand – First Laps
FIM Superbike World Championship rider for KRT Tom Sykes, made his first laps around the Chang International Circuit in Buriram today aboard his new Ninja ZX-10R.
On a track surface which proved inconsistent in places Tom was seventh after the first two qualifying sessions, being more concerned with race preparations in hot conditions than going for a fast time.
Under the new rules for the 2016 season they now have just one more 15-minute session before Superpole 2 qualifying starts, and then race one is scheduled at 16.00 hrs local time on Saturday 12th March.
With this new schedule in mind all preparations were on evaluating tyre choices and machine set-up, to face the first of two 20-lap WSBK races in what should again be high track and air temperatures.
After track resurfacing work had been carried our recently there were three patched sections of track that proved to be more slippery than the rest, making for a reduction in pace relative to last year for all riders and modifying some aspects of pre-race planning.
Tom used some of his two hours of track time evaluate a few set-up items in preparation for the first race on Saturday and declared himself pleased with the outcome of this strategy.
“We have quite a good set-up. We were just trying two or three things in the last part of the second session and sacrificed lap time for this. Now our questions have been answered for tomorrow so we know where to go on the set-up and then we need to focus on pace. In the last ten minutes we kept the same tyre on the bike and tried some new things. We can go to sleep and know with 98% certainty what bike set-up we will go with in the race tomorrow.”