The MSS Bathams Kawasaki team have completed their opening test of the 2012 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship season at Alcarras in Spain as Peter Hickman and Michael Rutter ended their third day on track.
Both riders made good progress throughout the day working through chassis, engine and electronic parameters with the team feeling confident of further progress as they return to the UK to continue their pre-season testing preparations. Hickman admitted the changes he had made had slashed a second off his lap time from yesterday and Rutter was continuing to adapt to the Kawasaki and was also feeling positive despite a small crash in the afternoon.
Hickman said: "It was a really good test overall, we finished slightly early today but we still managed loads of laps and went a second faster than we did yesterday. There is still lots of potential with the MSS Bathams Kawasaki and we have more to come that's for sure, including from me now I have had some time on the bike. We just picked up where we left off yesterday and did go full circle, but that is always the way when you go testing. For me, I think the Kawasaki has a similar chassis to the Honda I rode last year. The engine delivers very linear power, I expected it to be more aggressive so it has been a nice surprise; she is a bit flighty but we are working on that. We have some ideas on what we can work on at the next test to tweak with the chassis and front forks, especially to suit the hard braking sections of track, but overall it has been great and the team have been mint."
Rutter said: "It has been a lot better today overall and we have been able to do some half decent times without really trying too hard. We have had a play around with the ride height and different links and it has made an improvement already. As always you want to be out longer when you are testing but it has been a good start. We feel like we could race tomorrow if we needed to, that is not saying it is going to be easy this year, as everyone knows that isn't the case but overall it has been better than I had expected and the bike was easier to ride than I thought. I am still getting comfortable on it, but it always does take some time to adjust. It has been a good start and we can build from here before the opening round."
Team owner Nick Morgan concluded: "Yes, we made headway with the bikes but they were already on good pace at the end of last year. What was so rewarding was seeing how the riders all improved their times and have built up such an understanding with their crews, in such a short space of time. I feel that we now have very good communication and support for all sides of the garage, which will be invaluable come race weekends. The whole test has gone remarkably smoothly, Michael has started to adapt well from riding the Ducati and is enjoying the fresh challenge that the ZX10 brings to him. Peter got faster and faster and really kept working at adapting to the bike rather than the other way round which was refreshing. We have been working hard on the new Motec system which is responding very well and giving him confidence with the limited electronic control we now have. Overall I am very happy with how the test has gone and we are now on a high ready to continue testing in the UK."