Dorna Communications

Champ Tops Testing as WorldSBK Opener Approaches

Reigning double WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea set the pace at Phillip Island as just days remain before the action starts for real.

Dorna Communications

Basking in the summer sun at the stunning Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders were able to take advantage of the four hours they have out on track, following a disrupted day on Monday before the opening round of the season commences in three days time.

Heading out in the early session on Tuesday morning, cooler track temperatures greeted riders and it was the Kawasaki Racing Team who were the first to lead the way of the two hour session. Whilst the fastest man from day one – Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) – crept back up to the top in the opening half hour of the session.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) ended the session on top, with a lap time of 1.30.545 and was 0.258s ahead of the rest of the field as the reigning champion led the majority of the session. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was one position behind Rea, following a steady opening day. Melandri was just one position ahead of his teammate, Davies who ended in third position.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) put in 38 laps of the circuit and began to iron out issues from yesterday, despite suffering a crash in the closing four minutes of the session the Yorkshireman went back to the box unharmed.

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Teammates Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark had a varied opening session; Lowes put in strong race simulations aboard his YZF-R, finishing in eighth overall and a lap time of 1.31.692. Whilst van der Mark struggled to make it into the top ten and crashed towards the end of the session this morning, and this afternoon he made steady progress with his R1 – his time a 1.31.936.

The Australian summer weather stuck around for the afternoon session, and riders continued to take advantage of the track time following a difficult opening day of the test, however some were unable to improve on their times of this morning.

Rea finished on the top spot overall on day two, spending day two unbeatable aboard the ZX-10RR. However he faced stiff competition from Melandri, as the Italian put in an impressive 105 laps throughout the two days, and his best overall lap time was a 1.30.575. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) completed the test in third spot – his lap time a 1.30.893 as he was just six laps shy of completing 100 in the final Official Test of the preseason.

Sykes was able to take the fourth spot overall in the test with a final lap time of 1.31.044, making him just under half a second shy of the top spot. Monday’s fastest man Fores ended in the top five – setting his fastest lap time in the morning session on day two.

Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) continues his strong and steady progress throughout the testing, as he ties up his short winter testing with a top six finish and an overall lap time of 1.31.293. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was another rider to have a strong day, taking a top seven finish with a lap time of 1.31.449.

Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team continue to learn and understand how their new Honda Fireblade SP2 works, and the pair ended the test in the bottom half of the timing sheets and were almost 1.5s behind Rea. Nicky Hayden finished day two in 14th position, whilst Stefan Bradl in 19th with a lap time of 1.32.796.

Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) was able to take a top nine position in Phillip Island, his lap time of 1.31.673 putting in 88 laps around the circuit, as German teammate Markus Reiterberger struggled on the final day, but was still able to salvage a 15th position finish.

American Jacobsen Fastest in WorldSSP

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit hosted the final day of the World Supersport winter testing, with just three days to go until 2017 kicks off on track.

Combined times coming through for both days means it gave riders a good indication of their pace, and riders were able to make the most of the improved track conditions they dealt with on Monday.

PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) has started his new project aboard the Italian machine with a strong two days, ending on the top of the timing sheets. The American set a lap time of 1.33.688 in the Tuesday morning session, which he was unable to improve on his time this afternoon, and was the rider who put in the most laps over the two days.

Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) didn’t go out in the second session of the day following a crash this morning, which left him with a left shoulder dislocation. Despite this set back, his time was fast enough to keep him in second position; a time of 1.34.188.

Frenchman Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) took third spot overall as he prepares for a new season in which he will be fighting for the title. His lap time of 1.34.272 was also set in the morning practice, and he narrowly missed out on second position by 0.084s. His Japanese teammate Hikari Okubo secured a top ten finish in the Official Test, 1.3s behind Jacobsen’s time.

It was an GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team lock out for fourth and fifth, with Lucas Mahias and Federico Caricasulo taking the spots respectively. Just 0.019s split the duo, as Mahias’ lap time was a 1.34.461.

Kenan Sofuolgu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) has suffered a blow to his 2017 campaign, and despite putting in 38 laps over the last two days, the Turkish rider is forced to sit out of the opening two rounds of the season due to his injury sustained over the winter. He will fly back home in order to get fully fit for Round three.

British rider Luke Stapleford had a strong test aboard his Profile Racing machine and was able to finish in the top six, as he set a time of 1.34.854. Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) took eighth spot with a time set in Tuesday morning’s session, a 1.34.925 whilst Nikki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) sat in ninth position, 0.025s behind ninth position.