Factory BMW rider Tom Sykes approaches his second season on the S1000RR with a strong new team-mate in Eugene Laverty but a lot of work still to be done to be fully ready for the opening round in Australia in a month from now.
Sykes, who was champion in 2013, has made plenty of setup alterations to the bike in Portugal and didn’t pay too much attention to the timing screens.
“We’ve made a lot of changes to a lot of things. We’re working big time on the chassis, electronics, brakes and quite a lot of other details,” he told bikesportnews.com.
“We had our work cut out for us and had to turn a bit of a blind eye to the timing monitors and get the donkey work out of the way to get a better understand for going forward to Phillip Island.
Definitely happy to have got all that work out of the way, we have a lot of information now and we can move onto Australia and then focus on performance once we’re out there.”
Always a rider keen to get a bike to work for his particular style, Sykes said, “We’re showing very positive signs of progress. There were a few moments where our lap times on used tyres were impressive before we’d have to get off of that route to go to a different chassis set-up, try that and then find something there.
“Basically we were exploring parameters in areas we struggled last season. It was frustrating at times because you’d start to get your head down and we would jump to another plan to get more information. Patience was key over these two days and I’m happy to get it out the way for Phillip Island.”
The expectation for Sykes from some in his team is that he could finish inside the top four. Was that realistic for Sykes? “Anything is possible and these tests are nothing to go on. I feel quietly confident in certain areas. It’s a difficult championship it’d be nice to start looking at race wins. To predict anything at this stage of the year, in this sport, would not be very smart of me. So, we’ll take it race by race and see where we end up.”
One of the missing links last year, for most of the year, was top end engine performance on such a new bike as the BMW was. That seems largely sorted now, according to Sykes. “In terms of power I’ve not been up against anyone up on track but I’ve not made any complaints this week. We’ll see in a few weeks’ time though.”