Phillip Island, Australia – Mixed weather played a part in Tuesday’s second and final eni FIM Superbike World Championship testing day at Phillip Island. The 15 riders who got onto the track during the morning session took a steadier approach to the 4.445km circuit compared to Monday, though they still continued their work on the drying track.
The afternoon session saw improved conditions and a consequent bettering of lap-times. Carlos Checa was fastest at the end of the day courtesy of a stunning lap-time of 1:31.059. The Alstare Ducati rider raised the bar of performances to a new level onboard his 1199 Panigale R, as both bike and track surface started to show their full potential.
“It’s nice to do the best lap time, with everybody in the same conditions, and it was a nice surprise for me,” Checa admitted. “I honestly didn’t believe that we’d be at this level at this point.
“I like this track, it’s fast and flowing, which suits me and the Ducati, but I didn’t expect to be the quickest. Before this test, I thought we’d be about seventh or eighth. The team have worked really well and we’ve improved every time we’ve gone out. This bike is very reactive and it has not been so hard finding a good setting.”
Riders from second to fifth place — Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) finished within three tenths of a second of the leader, with the top 11 all within a second.
Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) took part in Tuesday’s second session despite a strong flu. After being treated at the Medical Centre the 23-year-old was able to get on track and eventually finished seventh, despite a slow-speed crash at Siberia Corner.
Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) got a taste of the gravel as he high-sided at the last turn of the track. The rookie from France escaped the heavy crash uninjured.
Ayrton Badovini (Alstare Team Ducati) was on track in the afternoon for a quick shakedown to check his fitness conditions.
After 10 laps completed in the morning, Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing Ducati) decided to quit the test and go on his own to the hospital, for further medical examinations.
Despite the temperature fall and the cloudy skies above the circuit, Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) was able to drop 0.443 seconds off his Day 1 best lap time to top the World Supersport timesheets at the end of the morning session.
Lowes put a 0.181 gap between himself and second placed Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), with Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda), Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) to follow.
Lowes was able to further improve his best lap-time up to a remarkable 1:33.076 – almost eight-tenths of a second quicker than the best lap – that helped him finish as fastest of the whole test for the Supersport class. Sofuoglu and Foret placed second and third, respectively, not far time-wise from the leader despite a technical problem for the Frenchman towards the end.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) was able to climb up to fourth place at his last attempt before the chequered flag was waved. The Dutch rider finished ahead of David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki).
World Superbike Times
1. Checa (Ducati) 1:31.059 (175.732 km/h);
2. Melandri (BMW) 1:31.237
3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:31.261
4. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1:31.350
5. Rea (Honda) 1:31.356
6. Haslam (Honda) 1:31.549
7. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1:31.640
8. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:31.658
9. Laverty (Aprilia) 1:31.712
10. Camier (Suzuki) 1:31.814
11. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1 :32.044
12. Davies (BMW) 1 :32.102
13. Allerton (BMW) 1:32.159
14. Stauffer (Honda) 1:32.255
15. Baz (Kawasaki) 1:32.625
16. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1:32.880
17. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1 :32.964
18. Clementi (BMW) 1:33.293
19. Lundh (Kawasaki) 1:33.447
20. Badovini (Ducati) 1:33.686
–From the eni Superbike World Championship