Tom Sykes aboard Ninja ZX-10R again for 2012

Sykes, who has been an official Kawasaki rider for the past two seasons and a key figure in the development of the current Ninja ZX-10R racebike, has already won a world championship race for Kawasaki, at the German WSBK round in early September.

Lascorz and Sykes had their first test in preparation for the 2012 season at Portimao on Tuesday 18th October, only two days after the end of the 2011 campaign, and it was a test that turned out well for both riders.

The team’s European logistical base will be in Spain but with overall control coming direct from Japan, as the Superbike World Championship programme is a full Kawasaki Heavy Industries project.

Tom Sykes: “I’m very happy to be continuing with Kawasaki and the Ninja ZX-10R in 2012. I believe the bike has good potential and we saw some of that come through in 2011 with a race win in Germany and superpole at Misano. These are the kind of results I am looking to achieve in the coming season on a regular basis and I really believe we can do this. I have a lot of confidence in Kawasaki and the team around me, so if we can improve a couple of points with the set-up of the bike on the track which I feel are restricting performance this would be a big step forward for us in the final results. I am looking forward to re-starting our test programme again very soon.”

Guim Roda, Team Manager: “We are very happy to run with Tom in 2012. Kawasaki always tries to keep the people it has in place and Tom has been making a good job in the last two years with Kawasaki. He has the potential to go fast, as he has shown in 2011, and now we have to repeat that for full race distance at each round. He is young and determined, which are good combinations for a fast rider. I'm sure working closer with Marcel, his new crew chief, and taking part in all the tests we have planned means he will take one step more and he will be able to fight for the podium places at every race. Let’s see what he can show us all next year."

Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki Europe Race Planning Manager: “It's great that Tom's with us again for 2012 in the World Superbike Championship. He's worked hard within the project over the past two years and has always dug deep when it mattered to give us our first pole and race win with the new Ninja ZX-10R. PBM had good insight to hold onto him this year as part of the three-rider team and now Tom has justifiably been rewarded with a full KHI factory rider contract for next year and being part our new WSB project. With a year under his belt on the new bike and a strong test plan being coordinated from Japan, I'm sure we will get to see Tom on the top step of that podium far more regularly in 2012.”

European Junior Cup Final Roundup
Newsflash, 6 October 2011
The European Junior Cup class, for young riders from all over the world racing Ninja 250R machines, concluded at the recent Magny-Cours round, with Aussie Matt Davies the inaugural champion.

After six rounds the European Junior Cup Championship culminated in impressive style, with an exciting nine lap race on Sunday October 2 that saw the top seven covered by only 2.769 seconds at the flag, and the first champion in this class crowned.

Matt Davies from Australia took his Davies Autos backed machine to fourth in the Magny-Cours race, but with his only real rival Tom Busch (ADAC Sachsen/KraftwerkS) out on lap 6 after a fall, his final championship win was unopposed, despite the furious fight for the top seven places in France. Davies was a worthy champion, having won four races in a row from Monza to Nürburgring and the having led the series after the fourth round at Silverstone.

This series, which pitches young riders together on identical Kawasaki Ninja 250R machinery, has certainly worked in terms of teaching young riders race craft, as the battle at the front at the final round was intense, with positions changing on a corner-by-corner basis and the leading pack often riding as one unit.

The Magny Cours podium saw British rider Josh Harland (Yambits NYRRSC), NZ’s Jake Lewis (Palmer/Macrete/Jack Sands) and Spain’s Ruben Fenoll (Baiting) finish 1-2-3, with Davies fourth. Fenoll was overall third in the final points table, behind Davies and Busch.

An impressive 22 riders scored championship points at one time or other, in a class that brought a new sight and sound to half a dozen WSBK race weekends across Europe, and gave lots of young riders their first taste of real international competition.