The learning curve continued for motorcycling ace Kyle Ryde when he made his competitive debut on his new bike for his latest team in the World Supersport Championship.
The 19-year-old Jacksdale rider, who is with the Hungarian Schmidt Racing Team, tackled Round 11 of the championship at the famous Lausitzring circuit in eastern Germany. And after a couple of promising test days, he was hoping to get the best out of his Kawasaki ZX-6R machine.
Ryde didn’t figure among the points, finishing 17th, and could not improve his position in the overall standings, where he started the weekend 27th of the 35 riders. But he was far from downhearted and reckons improvement is on its way in the final three rounds of the season, staring at the Magny-Cours racetrack in France over the weekend of September 30-October 2.
“I know we have the potential to be faster and improve our results,” said Ryde. “The weekend wasn’t too bad. We made good steps throughout the practice sessions, but I was hoping for a better result in the race itself.
“Unfortunately, we had a small issue with the suspension and tyres, with a lot of chattering. I simply couldn’t go any faster because I would have crashed.”
Ryde has endured a torrid first season in the prestigious Supersport Championship and was even left without a seat at one stage after the Ranieri Med team withdrew. But he travelled to Germany full of confidence and finished 26th after the opening timed practice session in warm and sunny conditions.
Continuing to work with his technicians to improve both his riding and the bike, he then lowered his lap time by more than a second to end the day in 21st to qualify for a place in the following day’s Superpole 1 event.
“The track is probably the toughest on the calendar, but it was a good day,” Ryde said. “I was much faster on the Kawasaki than the previous bike.”
The next day, he had to ride the new machine in wet conditions for the first time and slipped to 31st place in a difficult session. Bus as the track dried out, he closed in on seventh in the Superpole 1 and went into Sunday’s big race full of hope that he could put points on the board.
Ryde lined up on row six of the grid for the 19-lap contest and soon made up two positions to 15th. He then found himself in a group of four riders all fighting for the points zone and continuously exchanging positions, but was unable to make any more progress.
Manager Balogh admitted he was “not totally satisfied” with the outcome. “Kyle made a good start but then didn’t increase his pace and we’ll need to study the data to understand why that was,” he said.
“But in general, we’ve had a good weekend in which we worked a great deal to develop the bike. We had no technical malfunctions or crashes, and this leaves me feeling optimistic about the future.”
Balogh stressed that he was particularly pleased by Ryde’s efforts in practice. “To qualify for the race in 17th position was a positive result considering it was only our first weekend with the Kawasaki in the championship.
“The bike performed well and looked to be reliable, while Kyle was really comfortable on it, which is important.
“Of course, we need to continue to work to improve and get closer to the front, but I think it’s only a matter of time.”