Six-time WorldSBK podium rider Xavi Fores returned from a single-season BSB adventure with Honda to have a first taste of ZX-10RR power inside the Kawasaki Puccetti racing camp at Jerez.
After just one day it was a case of getting used to not just WorldSBK rivals again, but several changes from when he used to ride a big Panigale vee-twin in WorldSBK, with such effectiveness.
“It is a nice feeling, honestly,” he said about being back, and at a Spanish track in the sunshine. “I enjoyed my first day but coming back to the electronics and big tyres, and a completely different bike, it was like a first day at school.
“But, honestly, I am happy with the job done and on day two we will try something a little bit different for my riding style to go a little bit more safe - smooth - on the bike. At the moment I am a little bit tight in riding. But anyway, for the first day it is interesting and the bike has a lot of potential.”
Compared to the shape of the Puccetti effort in 2019, with Toprak Razgatlioglu as the rider, there are a few changes for Puccetti for the 2020 season – not just Fores.
The staff is new. Crew chief Chris Pike has come from Honda, Paolo has been working with Kawasaki for a long time, one of my mechanics is the same as Toprak and one is new. It was the first day of school for everybody”
After his year riding Hondas in BSB, with no electronics, Fores said of his return to cost capped but sophisticated electronics in WorldSBK,
“Coming back from no electronics to electronics is more difficult to go from electronics to none,” he stated. “At the beginning of the day I was so smooth on the throttle and I was not feeling the electronics on the first laps.
“Then when I realised I had electronics again and I had to push a little bit more and at the end of the day I felt a little bit better. But I do not know where the limit of the bike is at the minute, so I have to learn a little bit more and change something on my position on the bike.
“But the first impression is quite positive and I feel that I will arrive soon to the lap time. I am not in a hurry, just trying to understand everything.”
For a rider who missed out on a world ride in 2019, he has landed one of the best non-factory rides, as the super-talented Razgatlioglu showed last season. It was the most realistic option for Fores to return, it seems. “I was talking to Yamaha first but then I was put in contact with Manuel and it was so easy to do a deal between us.
“I think this is the perfect package for me to come back after the podiums that Toprak did, so I decided to come here. I had big support from Kawasaki as well, so it is interesting to arrive to the World Championship again with a good package.”