Carlos Checa has removed any lingering doubts about the competitiveness of the Ducati 1199 Panigale R, after controlling the second and final day of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island, and ending the test as fastest overall. The Spaniard started the day fast, and ended the day fast, maintaining a strong pace throughout.
Checa was fastest in both wet – or rather, damp – conditions and in the dry. The second day of testing started out with a damp track, a number of riders choosing to stay in the pits instead of risking uncertain conditions on the newly resurfaced track, but the track soon dried out, and conditions improved greatly in the afternoon.
Behind Checa, Marco Melandri took 2nd slot, the Italian finding a little more pace than on the first day. The BMW rider led a very close group, with just over a tenth of a second separating Melandri in 2nd from Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea in 5th.
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes demonstrated that he will not be slowed too much by a cracked radius, grabbing the 3rd slot, while Michel Fabrizio was the fastest of the Aprilia riders, putting the privateer Red Devils Roma RSV4 into 4th slot. The other Aprilia men occupied places 7th through 9th, with just a few hundredths separating Davide Giugliano, Sylvain Guintoli, and Eugene Laverty.
The Suzukis were not as fast as they had been on Monday. Leon Camier, fastest on day 1, was six tenths slower on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSXR-1000 on Tuesday, ending the test in 10th, though still 4th fastest overall on the two days of the test. Jules Cluzel, still banged up from the private test late last week, highsided in the final corner on Tuesday, though he walked away unhurt.
In addition to testing the bikes, the teams got a workout too. With just a single bike, and the scrapping of race restarts, the WSBK men now have to come in to the pits and change wheels and tires if it rains. Several teams practiced their pit stops, testing out modified components – mainly borrowed from the World Endurance Championship – to assist in the fast changes of wheels and brakes.
How that works out on a race weekend remains to be seen: it must be feared that riders will choose to stay out on the track on unsuitable tires, rather than risk losing time and coming in to change tires, which could lead to potentially dangerous situations. The wisdom or otherwise of the new rules – made to ensure that the races can take place inside of the scheduled TV broadcast window, and do not overrun – will only be demonstrated in practice.
Official Times from the 2013 World Superbike Pre-Season Test at Phillip Island — Day 2:
|1||7||Carlos Checa||Ducati Panigale 1199R||1:31.059||–||–|
|2||33||Marco Melandri||BMW S1000 RR||1:31.237||0.178||0.178|
|3||66||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:31.261||0.202||0.024|
|4||84||Michel Fabrizio||Aprilia RSV4 1000||1:31.350||0.291||0.089|
|5||65||Jonathan Rea||Honda CBR1000RR||1:31.356||0.297||0.006|
|6||91||Leon Haslam||Honda CBR1000RR||1:31.549||0.490||0.193|
|7||34||Davide Giugliano||Aprilia RSV4 1000||1:31.640||0.581||0.091|
|8||50||Sylvain Guintoli||Aprilia RSV4 1000||1:31.658||0.599||0.018|
|9||58||Eugene Laverty||Aprilia RSV4 1000||1:31.712||0.653||0.054|
|10||2||Leon Camier||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:31.814||0.755||0.102|
|11||16||Jules Cluzel||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:32.044||0.985||0.230|
|12||19||Chaz Davies||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.102||1.043||0.058|
|13||14||Glen Allerton||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.159||1.100||0.057|
|14||21||Jamie Stauffer||Honda CBR1000RR||1:32.255||1.196||0.096|
|15||76||Loris Baz||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:32.625||1.566||0.370|
|16||31||Vittorio Iannuzzo||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.880||1.821||0.255|
|17||23||Federico Sandi||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:32.964||1.905||0.084|
|18||18||Ivan Clementi||BMW S1000 RR||1:33.293||2.234||0.329|
|19||5||Alexander Lundh||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:33.447||2.388||0.154|
|20||86||Ayrton Badovini||Ducati Panigale 1199R||1:33.686||2.627||0.239|
Official WSBK lap records at Phillip Island
|Pole record||2011||Carlos Checa||Ducati 1098 R||1:30.882|
|Lap record||2012||Max Biaggi||Aprilia RSV4 1000||1:31.785|
Photo: Ducati Alstare
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.