HUDDERSFIELD World Superbikes star Tom Sykes laid down a marker for the 2013 season with an impressive show in testing at Jerez.
The 2012 World Championship runner-up is aiming to take the title this time round and was setting the pace in testing with the Kawasaki Racing Team.
After rain proved frustrating leaving a wet track on the first day of testing, the second provided a near perfect surface.
Sykes was up to his expected fast pace very early in the test and set a 1.40.05 second lap on a qualifying tyre, then did a 1.41.6 second lap on a race tyre.
Jerez was playing host to many riders from different classes at the test, including most of Sykes’ main rivals, and he was pleased to have continued his strong pace following further improvements on his official Ninja ZX-10R machine.
Sykes said: “We have to be very happy after this test, we had some wet track time and for some people it was maybe not very good, but for us it was very valuable.
“We learned some things in both the wet and dry track conditions and eventually we had decent track conditions on the second day and we got up to speed.
“We were able to test very constructively. Both days have been very valuable and I would like to thank the team and Kawasaki because our test schedule has been very good and all the time we have been moving forward.
“The Jerez circuit is quite a special circuit and, while it revealed some things that are not our strong points, but looking at what is on paper we are not in a bad situation.
“On a race tyre we did a long run and were able to set a 1.41.07 time after 14 laps with the tyre option.
“Overall I am happy to have achieved what we have achieved and am looking forward to the next test at Phillip Island.”
Jerez was the final European test before the Superbike and Supersport riders head to Australia for more tests at Phillip Island, and then round one of the World Championship at the same circuit on 24 February.