FIM Superbike World Championship contenders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes will be reintroduced to their 2017 Ninja ZX-10RR machines at the popular testing venue of Jerez de la Frontera over the next two days.

After two season-ending test sessions in November of last year, at Motorland Aragon and then Jerez, the official Kawasaki Racing Team riders will be able to exploit the latest race developments on the new model Ninja ZX-10RR during what will be the opening winter tests of 2017 at the 4.423km long Jerez circuit.

After so much recent success with the Ninja ZX-10R the RR model has retained the basic characteristics of the three-time championship-winning machine and added even more performance oriented initiatives to compete for greater success this year.

Jerez, in the south west of Spain, holds a variety of challenges for riders and machines, featuring superfast curves and tight hairpins, flowing sections and a variety of elevation and camber changes. This makes it a true test of a machine’s all-round potential.

Rea and Sykes each set impressive lap times during their 2016 tests at Jerez but most importantly of all they made real progress in defining and refining their 2017 race components and electronic systems.

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “We will really start the 2017 project in Jerez with nearly everything in place to attack race one in Australia. We have all been working hard in the winter to improve many areas on the bike and in the team so we will put it all in place at Jerez. KHI and the suppliers have been working a lot to cover the crew chief and rider requests. From the team’s side we have been working to define the correct workflow inside our structure and introduce new staff into the system. I’m sure in 2017 we will be able to cover some weak points we had in 2016 and I expect us to have a more competitive package. Let’s see were we are in race one in Australia.”

The intention at the forthcoming test is reconfirm recent developments and to make final set-up direction choices that will be used for real in the opening round of the championship at Phillip Island in Australia, to be held between 24th and 26th February.

Before the beginning of the new season KRT will return to Jerez for the final European winter test on 1st and 2nd February and then Rea and Sykes will take part in two days of official championship organisers’ tests at Phillip Island, on 21st and 22nd February.

“We have almost completed our winter test programme at Jerez after the last test there, said rider Jonathan Rea. “We can start 2017 with a base package that we are already satisfied with. We are now starting to put all the pieces of the jigsaw together so I can start to build a package looking toward the first round of the championship at Phillip Island. Jerez is a track that presents different challenges at different times of the year, depending on the temperature and grip levels from the track, so we will have to see what the track surface presents to us when we arrive there. The first test of 2017 is about getting up to speed, throwing away the winter cobwebs and starting to work with my teams again to built up to Phillip Island. We have six days of testing before the first race weekend, so we have enough time to prepare. We have some new parts we are going to evaluate in the search for more power. After the last test we left Jerez very optimistic that we had done a good job both in lap times and consistency.”

“There is no question that Jerez, as a venue, is a good one for testing, commented Rea’s teammate, Tom Sykes. “That’s why so many teams and categories go there for testing. You have to be careful because not only do lap times change day-to-day I find that Jerez is also sensitive to the time of day. We have not shown our full potential yet after the last test because we have not put the perfect set-up together yet. What we have been able to do in previous tests is explore some different parameters, explore a few things on the bike and try to understand more. With the recent technical rules we have not been as close to what I would class as a racing bike as we had been in some previous years. We have been stepping away from that and I have to say that it is about time that I need to try and adjust myself. I have to understand that it is not a thoroughbred racing bike and I need to adapt myself more to this. That has probably been my biggest struggle for the past couple of seasons. Now it is time to accept that there has to be a compromise. I am not able any more to fine-tune the bike set-up as in the past so now I probably need to bring a bit from myself.”

2017 KRT Rider Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015 and 2016

2017: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0

Career Race Wins: 38 (23 for Kawasaki)

Career Podiums: 88 (46 For Kawasaki)

Career Poles: 8 (4 For Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013

2017: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0

Career Race Wins: 31 (31 for Kawasaki)

Career Podiums: 84 (83 For Kawasaki)

Career Poles: 38 (38 For Kawasaki)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics

4 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015 & 2016), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)

2 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016)

2 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015 & 2016)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics

Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 91 – third overall

Total Kawasaki Podiums: 307 – third overall

Total Kawasaki Poles: 63 – second overall