Moscow Raceway (Russia) – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) led the way in testing for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship runners at Moscow Raceway, heading up the 21-strong group as World Superbike ventured onto the new circuit for the very first time.
His final best time of 1 minute 35.891 seconds was enough to keep him ahead of Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and the charging late push of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) ran out fourth, only just ahead of the works Aprilia Racing machine of Max Biaggi.
Accoeding to Checa: “It is a nice adventure to be here in Russia and it’s a really nice track. In some places you can only use about 15% of throttle and just keep rolling the bike. We feel quite well today and this is a track where we have been working well in both the morning and the afternoon. We understand the line, the gearbox and the tyres. At the end we felt the tyres were working a lot better in the afternoon because probably the asphalt is less aggressive now. We are losing a lot on the straight, which is uphill, so it is not easy to manage that.”
Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) put his vee four into the top six places, ahead of Checa’s team-mate Davide Giugliano. Top Honda rider was Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) in 12th place, one up on the best Suzuki tester, Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki).
The new circuit proved to be a challenge for all the top riders, with slow and fast corners combined, including a drop downhill and a long straight back uphill into the final corner.
A long delay after a red flag incident, when one machine lost oil at the end of the main straight, cost the SBK riders some track time this afternoon, but all had the opportunity to get used to the challenging new circuit in a territory all new to SBK racing before practice starts for real on Friday 24th August.