The 2016 National Superstock 1000 Championship kicked off at the weekend at the iconic Silverstone Circuit in Northampton but for Danderhall motorcycle ace Mick Robertson the hard work had already started last month with the delivery of a brand new Kawasaki ZX-10R race bike.
The new bike was the first major upgrade by Kawasaki since 2011 and changes included improvements to the motor, frame, and electronics. Mick and the team attended a test day at Donington Park ahead of Round 1 of the Championship and Mick has switched to K-Tech suspension for this season so much of the day was used trying different settings. It usually takes time for a rider to get used to a new bike but this felt comfortable straight away, the new frame and suspension had increased the stability into corners giving Mick confidence on corner entry.
“There is always something to be learned from a rider with his level of experience and as is usual with Mick his feedback has been clear and precise. We are all too aware of the depth in quality of the competition this year and we will need to be in good shape right from the start,” said technician Alan McKintosh.
The action started on Friday morning with free practice but the session was disrupted due to a large fuel spillage along the high speed Hangar Straight and by the time the riders were able to restart it had begun to rain and where parts of the circuit was wet other areas were dry making it difficult to put in consistent lap times. The weather didn’t improve for qualifying but Mick was running well until his quick gear shifter came loose towards the end of the session and he slipped to 15th quickest. Although only completing a few dry laps and this his first visit to Silverstone on his new bike Mick was happy that the set up was good and the suspension was working well. Mick made a good start to the race and battled mid-pack until crossing the line in 15th place scoring a valuable and hard fought Championship point.
Mick knows that the bike will improve as the season goes on and many of the top finishers today were on BMW machines which have had more than five years development whereas the new Kawasaki ZX-10R has had just a few months.
Mick will be back out on track next week for another test day at Oulton Park ahead of Round 2 of the Championship at the same venue in three weeks. Follow Mick and the Teams progress on Twitter @mickrobertson98 and on Facebook with Mick Robertson & Michael Robertson Racing.