The season may be over, but the Kawasaki Racing Team will be back in action on Wednesday for yet another test
Tom Sykes and Loris Baz have already done two tests with the last taking place at Valencia at the end of October where they put the latest developments through the paces and also tested the new ZX-10Rs on 17-inch tyres.
The duo will head to Motorland Aragon in Spain this week for the penultimate test of 2012.
“I am all ready to go testing again. I am not getting much time to mess about at home and get my DIY work finished at my house but I am getting to ride my Ninja ZX-10R again, which is always a very positive thing,” Sykes said.
“We are going to Motorland, which is a circuit we have a good reference data from. We have some quite key things to test. Those things should help us a lot. We have two days on track and I hope we get good weather for all of it so we can work in consistent conditions.”
Sykes finished runner-up to Max Biaggi in the 2012 World Superbike Championship and Kawasaki are determined to make sure he is competitive right from the word go next year.
Team manager Guim Roda added: “We will work exclusively with the new tyre sizes and will introduce some new electronic improvements. As always will continue developing the suspension package and try to give more feedback to KHI in Japan to assist them in developing the bike for next January’s tests.
“Tom is so strong and we need to keep him learning day-by-day to arrive at the first race in Australia in the most competitive way possible. Loris is growing up in a good way as an SBK racer and we are trying to teach him in one year what a normal rider could take three years to learn.
“We will also start to make some improvements on the way of working inside the team to be even more competitive. We are so excited to be working for a successful 2013 season already.”
Only 10 points separate Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso with only two races left in the 2012 campaign.
With the contest for the title so tight, it is anybody’s guess who will walk away with the Drivers’ Championship once the chequered flag comes down at the Brazilian GP.
Vettel, who has won four of the last five races, is confident the driver who deserves it most will emerge victorious.
“Of course the last races we had were very good for us, to put it mildly,” he told the official Formula One website.
“They have helped us a lot. If you look at the whole season with 20 races, you do have incidences that you don’t like to have, you probably have some retirements due to technical problems. We had those - and hopefully we have now passed this phase.
“It is very hard to run so many races without incidents. It is not something that is part of your calculation, but you have to be prepared when it hits you not to stand there with eyes wide open. (laughs).
“If you look at the races we’ve done so far I think Fernando’s and my DNF’s or calamities are equal. I still believe that the driver who deserves it most will be Champion. No doubt we are in a very good position now and I hope we do well until the very end to make sure that we deserve the glory.”
Alonso sported a 42-point lead over Vettel at one stage, but a few retirements coupled with the Red Bull driver’s hot streak saw that advantage disappear.
Defending Champion Vettel admits the fact that so many drivers are challenging for race wins and podiums have had a major impact on how things have panned out.
“With everyone being very close to each other, with the performance of the cars being very equal, you might have a good car but finish only seventh,” he said.
“The next race your car is quite similar and you might win and the guy who won a fortnight ago is not able to do better than fifth or sixth. This is indeed very different to previous years when you knew that when the car felt good and had good pace you might still finish on the podium - even if someone else was quicker - as there have only been a handful of guys fighting it out.
“This year, well, not everybody can win, but the circle of suspects has definitely widened.”
Nico Rosberg is “convinced” he can go head-to-head against Lewis Hamilton when the duo team up at Mercedes next season.
Rosberg will have a new team-mate next season when Hamilton joins from McLaren. 2013, though, will not be the first time the duo have been on the same team up as they previously raced together in karts over a decade ago.
But while Hamilton has gone on to claim 20 grands prix wins and a Drivers’ Championship title, Rosberg has just one victory and no titles to his name. He has also scored less than half the points the Brit has bagged despite making his F1 debut a year earlier.
Rosberg, though, insists he’s not worried.
“There’s no concern, I’m pleased he’s joining the team and it’s a new challenge for me,” he told ESPN.
“And yes, he’s one of the best out there so it’s going to be very interesting going up against him. But again, I’m convinced that I’ll do well and we’ll see how he goes.”
The 27-year-old believes he’s already proven he can take on World Champions after beating seven-time Champ Michael Schumacher in every one of their three years together.
“I’ve been pleased with how I’ve compared against him. I didn’t really know what to expect in the beginning, but I knew I was going to do well, but how I compared to him I had no idea.
“Now in hindsight to have beaten him in three years in a row, I’m very pleased. It’s been important for my career, definitely.”
As for Mercedes’ slump in form this season, which saw them drop from winning round three to not scoring a single point in the last four races, Rosberg is adamant they will move forward next season.
“I’m very confident, the team is really progressing well and we have a lot more employees who have joined the team this year and they’re very clever people that are going to have an impact now - slowly but surely and especially for next year
“I’m sure we are going to do even better and then also with Hamilton joining the team, that’s going to be a good boost for everybody and I think it’s a nice change and refreshing, which is good.”