World Superbike, Misano Adriatico, Republic of San Marino, 5 June 2012
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and his new team-mate Loris Baz will reach the halfway point of the World Superbike season when they complete the forthcoming race weekend at the popular Misano circuit.
Sykes’ immediate hopes for the Adriatic coastal circuit race are to add to his impressive performances on the official Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R and then have an even better second half of the 14-round season than the positive first half he has already enjoyed.
In 2012 so far Sykes has scored a race win at Monza, taken six podiums in total and secured four Superpole wins, but hopes for an even better second half of the season after the San Marino round of the championship is completed at Misano.
The official Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SBK machine is an even more refined and sharpened device in 2012 than it was in 2011 and its capabilities have lifted Sykes to third in the championship table.
He is, in fact, tied for points with second place rider Marco Melandri and they are each only 18 points away from championship leader Max Biaggi.
For relatively recent inductee to the KRT squad Loris Baz, who has replaced the injured Joan Lascorz, Misano is a circuit he knows well. He has not ridden his Ninja ZX-10R at the circuit near the Adriatic coast, however, but since he joined the team at Donington he has adopted a mature approach to riding in an official Kawasaki SBK racing team, learning his way step-by-step.
So far Baz has scored in three of his four individual SBK races and his goals for Misano include getting into Superpole qualifying and then scoring points in each race.
In the Kawasaki Team Pedercini squad Leandro Mercado and David Salom are both set to race at the third of three Italian based rounds for the locally based team.
Tom Sykes: “It has been all good since I got back from America on Friday, just getting up a bit early in the mornings because of the time difference, but I am getting there. I feel nice and relaxed. I am very much looking forward to Misano and I think it is a circuit that should suit us a little bit more than Miller. After America I was disappointed because we gave away some points to some of our closest competitors, so I hope in Misano we can get a little bit better race package and be able to fight a bit.
There is no reason whey we cannot do that. The SBK spec Kawasaki has come a long, long way this year and there is no reason why we cannot make one more step. Miller was an exception in terms of our results, as we have been consistent for most of this year. We have to get it in perspective because in race two in America we were only nine seconds from the win. My crew told me that because we had a red flag in race two and changed the set-up of the bike before the restart, they learned a lot of good information from that. We are still well inside the top three and I think we have been doing quite a good job.”
Loris Baz: “I have been riding at Misano many times, not last year but many years before then, so I know the track and I think it can be good. I think the track will be a bit more difficult than Donington or Miller for me, because my problems are in the slow corners at the moment and there are a lot of slow corners at Misano. I think I can learn where I am good and not so good there so I am still confident for the weekend. I hope I can get into Superpole for the first time and then if I can score again in both races I will be very happy. It would be good to have three dry days to get to know the bike properly at this track. Everyone is really professional in the team and knows their work. It is an official team so it is good to work with them. I have a lot of things to learn but we have been going better session-by-session. After Misano we have a test in Aragon, so hopefully after that we can make a good step.