WSBK: Rea and Sykes up for 2016 challenge

On Thursday in Barcelona, the WSBK Kawasaki Racing Team launched the new ZX-10R for the upcoming 2016 campaign.

Riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes took to the stage to discuss the new bike and their winter preparations ahead of 2016.

Defending world champion Rea told reporters after the break he was focusing on doing well this season despite all the added pressure of being defending champion.

“Of course, I feel the pressure because we made an incredible season last year. I went away after the final round, I had some weeks at home, and then there was the birth of our new baby boy. That gave me some weeks to relax,” he said.

“I needed to find some more deep, extra, motivation to come back and not aim for top three again but defend my position as world champion. I started my pre-season preparations earlier than in 2014 or 2015 and I am already in good shape. We have our hands on a new ZX-10R, which I am really excited about,” said Rea.

“The best way to approach our season is the same step-by-step way as we did in 2015. I am excited to start the season and we do not have to wait too long. I am excited to start, excited to race and to try and defend my championship with the best support in the world.”

His team-mate and 2013 world champion, Sykes, said he was very motivated for the season ahead.

“I am very excited and motivated. Last year was a setback for me and the guys around me. Having said that, I am very blessed because I have certainly got the best people around me. Come rain or shine, and even on the difficult days, the guys patted me on the back. They know I give 100%. Likewise, they always give their best.

“If you had a difficult season and still finished third in the championship it is also not so bad. Kawasaki has given me another fantastic tool; the new 2016 Ninja ZX-10R is absolutely fantastic. It is a bike I am very familiar with. It is a bike that feels almost replicated from our 2012, 2013 and 2014 development,” said Sykes.

“The first laps were very exciting and from there on it just got better. Things have come easier for me and the lap times are already impressive and there is still work to be done.

“I definitely feel that with big help from the people around me, Kawasaki and all our technical sponsors we have the best chance and best package on the grid. Given the form we have had in recent testing this pre-season, I cannot wait for it to begin.”