With Carlos Checa dominating Phillip Island during the private tests and the first day of official testing, Tom Sykes displaced the reigning World Superbikes Champion early on in the second day of official testing at Phillip Island. In WSBK’s final test before the season’s racing kicks off this weekend, the Kawasaki rider set the day’s fastest time with a 1:31.648, holding off Checa by just 0.004 seconds. Also setting their best times on Tuesday, Jakub Smrz, Jonathan Rea, and Max Biaggi rounded out the fastest five overall. Marco Melandri was sixth fastest overall, with his best time being set on Monday.
There were a number of crashes that tested both riders and available machinery, of which Leon Haslam was the most notable. The Englishman fractured his right tibia in a high side at the final turn on Monday, leaving the BMW rider to scramble for an available surgery. He tweeted Tuesday, “I’ve finally found a guy to sort things out booked in for a Op on Thursday morning there might be a chance to ride on Sunday,” adding, “fingerscrossed.” Rea also crashed heavily, but did more damage to his bike than himself, and was able to continue throughout the test sessions.
John Hopkins missed the test, after a crash during his private testing last week forced him to return to California for his twenty-ninth surgery. The American rider hopes to return to his Yoshimura assisted Crescent Fixi Suzuki team in time for Imola, but was replaced for this test, and this weekend’s racing, by Australian Josh Brookes. Regular teammate Leon Camier fared decently well at official Phillip Island test (eighth fastest overall), but Brookes had to work hard to find a pace.
As per usual, learning much of anything solely from testing times is a chancy proposition at best. However, consistency and ease of development go a long way in setting the tone for Sunday’s race. Sykes, Checa, Biaggi, and Rea were in the fastest five in all four sessions, even with the varying warm and cool temperatures in the mornings and afternoons. BMW seemed to be tweeting heavily about issues with electronics, while the factory Honda team was its usual coolly confident and sassy self on social media. The true test of racing begins Friday.
Overall Times from World Superbike Testing at Phillip Island:
|23||35||Raffaele de Rosa||Honda||1:34.341|