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:

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time
1 66 Tom Sykes Kawasaki 1:31.648
2 7 Carlos Checa Ducati 1:31.652
3 96 Jakub Smrz Ducati 1:31.800
4 65 Jonathan Rea Honda 1:31.913
5 3 Max Biaggi Aprilia 1:32.034
6 33 Marco Melandri BMW 1:32.232
7 34 Davide Guigliano Ducati 1:32.319
8 2 Leon Camier Suzuki 1:32.320
9 50 Sylvain Guintoli Ducati 1:32.347
10 91 Leon Haslam BMW 1:32.397
11 17 Joan Lascorz Kawasaki 1:32.540
12 84 Michel Fabrizio BMW 1:32.605
13 59 Niccolo Canepa Ducati 1:32.746
14 4 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 1:32.910
15 121 Maxime Berger Ducati 1:32.911
16 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW 1:32.948
17 87 Lorenzo Zanetti Ducati 1:33.136
18 19 Chaz Davies Aprili 1:33.358
19 44 Davide Salom Kawasaki 1:33.385
20 67 Bryan Staring Kawasaki 1:33.418
21 25 Josh Brookes Suzuki 1:33.632
22 18 Mark Aitchison BMW 1:34.169
23 35 Raffaele  de Rosa Honda 1:34.341

Source: WSBK

  • Smitch

    Rollerball Rea crashed…no surprise there.
    And the Ducatis get weight restrictions, but none for Kawasaki? It’s a Kawayamandazuki conspiracy, man…

  • Damo


    Why would a 4 cylinder bike with only 1000cc get a weight penalty? If Ducati ran a 1000cc motor they would not get a weight restriction. Or you could just let the Japanese bikes run 1200cc, fair? let’s not start this debate again.

    I also have no idea why anybody hates on Rea. Guy just likes to push the limits, although I agree if he stays on the bike he would be a title threat. The man has serious speed.

  • Halfie 30

    Good to see Kawasaki being competitive. I’m not an fan of four cylinders, nor the Japenese big four, but I’ve always had a sweet spot for the smallest factory of the four .

    The weight debate is just silly. The Japenese are not fans of the Italians twins. Two cylinders will never push out as much horse power as four at the same cc with out being at a rediculous state of tune. Weigh an inline four at 1000 cc and then a v-twin at 1200 cc. I think that makes the point clear…

  • Keith

    hmmm, not a fan but I’ve always thought of Mr. Rea as having a “win it or bin it” mentality. I can relate…

  • Peter


  • 76

    Rea pushes that Honda so far to the limit to make up for its deficiencies (HP for one), its almost like Stoner and the Ducati. Look at where Aoyama is on the very same bike, a full second behind him(And hes coming from motoGP). Rea is unfortunately doing what he has to in keeping the CBR competitive. That means constantly riding on the limit. He has always been the lone honda in the top 5 and thats why.

  • MikeD

    If only u knew HOW both beasts made power u wouldn’t ask such a question.
    W/E a twin lacks an I4 has tons of it and viceversa. Halfie 30 made good points. Xactly. Let’s not.

    Now back to the issue at hand…good luck to TeamGreen…seems like they found their pace ? or was it ALL just a rash of good luck ?
    P.S: WIERD, i find the race bike better looking than it’s street counterpart. The factory 3 spoke wheels suck ass big time and the street headlight cowl/windshield still screaming afterthought & fugly as ever…just like the ZX-10R generation previous to it…(just bitchin here, no big deal).

  • SBPilot

    The ZX-10R definitely looks better in race/track trim than street but it was developed as a race bike first, road bike second, much like the S1000RR and RSV4.

    I wouldn’t call it luck for Kawi to be doing better so far. First they have a new team, something that doesn’t get mentioned a lot, and second, Kawasaki has decided to put much more factory involvement in the team. The Kawasaki team is probably more factory than the Honda team!

    Ducati and it’s weight penalty is…well stupid. Completely disregarding how engines work and all that mechanical stuff, Ducati certainly didn’t run away with the title in 2010 or 2009 so why put a weight penalty on the bike just because they won the title the previous year? It’s the same bike still, it doesn’t make sense at all.

  • Damo


    I am very familiar with how v-twins make power (an aprilia RSV Mille is my daily driver), I also earn my paycheck as a mechanical engineer, so the point is not lost on me. All my questions were rhetorical in nature, I guess that was missed.

    I have owned both Japanese I4’s and Italian twins (I prefer twins actually). The bottom line is there has to be a line in the sand. There is either a CC limit or there isn’t. I don’t think the weight penalty rule is the best way to do it either.

    The same issue happened in AMA last year when people were trying to argue having the 848 run up against 600cc I4 Japanese bikes.

  • Afletra

    There’s no blue on the track, no tuning fork… is Yamaha really that bad so no private team wanna use their R1? I wonder…

  • Damo


    It is kinda sad, isn’t it?

  • mxs

    What is it with all the crashes? More injuries and crashes then i can ever remember. I know it’s a speedy and tough track, but common. You cannot win a season in one practice or race, but you can certainly lose it ….

    The moto community surgeons must be going … “Alright … bring it on.”

    I hear you that there’s cc limit. The problem is there’s no better way to compensate then weight balast. I hate when motoGP says it has to be max of 5cyl and 19K red line ….. You should be able to run what you bring, that’s the one series I’d love to watch. If Ducati believes in V2 power and torque delivery they should be let to go head to head with with I4 guys. Why should Ducati develop I4 engine if they don’t believe in it? Just because rest of the world does?

  • Faust

    @ mxs

    The only reason there’s even an issue with the rules is to appease Ducati. They are the only ones running twins in the series, so the drama is purely of their own creation. Nobody says Ducati has to develop an I4 engine if they “don’t believe in it” (which has nothing to dowith it). Aprilia races, and won the title with a V4, not an I4. If Ducati didn’t beleive in making 4 cyl engines, then can you explain the engine in their Moto GP bikes and the production Desmo? In the GP series they don’t have a displacement advantage, so they made a 4 cyl engine to compete. And 5cyl engines? The new rules say:

    “A move to a 1000cc formula in 2012 is accompanied with further restrictions than during the 990cc era. The number of cylinders is limited to 4 and the maximum cylinder bore (the diameter of the cylinder) is 81mm for bikes with a minimum weight of 153kg” – Source: motogp.com

    That being said, the real reason that Ducati runs twins is to appease their target audience who prefer the twin due to the brand’s heritage. I admit that I also enjoy twins and I think twins make for better street bikes. Ducati will continue to make twins, and the ballast rules are needed to allow this historic company the ability to compete on a semi-level playing field. There simply MUST be special rules if they are allowed to run larger engines. And the ballast doesn’t seem to be hurting Checa anyway. Also, don’t forget that Honda played the V twin game with the RC51 and beat Ducati at their own game with it.

  • MikeD


    Even tho i still say “SCREW the B.S restrictions on Ducati” , I still +1 your comment. All decent valid points.

    It won’t end, NEVER, as long as they keep pushing the V2 format…and the organizers keep listening and bending to their whining and God knows what else they are pushing from under the table to get away with it so far.

    But to quote Damo, THERE HAS TO BE A LINE ON THE SAND…and could be as simple as:

    Make the best out of 1000 cc…
    or G.T.F.O”…
    or build/sell a 1000 cc V4 Superbike and shut up all the bitchin about how life is so unfair if u ride a 1000 cc I4 on WSBK.

    That last option…i think Hell will freeze before it happens on Earth.

  • Damo

    @Faust and MikeD

    Both of you are spot on. Also can we all agree that it is a shame Honda doesn’t make a twin anymore? The RC51 was, in my opinion, the best sport bike to ever come out of Japan and had a reasonably rabid fan base. As Jensen eloquently pointed out in his editorial piece.

    I thought the RC51 was a milestone Japanese bike almost on the level of the CB750 in terms of impact. For Honda just to walk away from it was a crime against humanity.

  • MikeD


    Damo said: “Also can we all agree that it is a shame Honda doesn’t make a twin anymore? The RC51 was, in my opinion, the best sport bike to ever come out of Japan and had a reasonably rabid fan base.”

    Darn shame, nothing we can do but vote with our $$$ (Aprilia,Duc,etc).
    It has a crazy fan base, i used to lurk on RC51 and TL Forums.
    Let’s just say it is a good bike for what it brought and did back then…cause R & D has kept on moving….(1199).

    Damo said: “I thought the RC51 was a milestone Japanese bike almost on the level of the CB750 in terms of impact. For Honda just to walk away from it was a crime against humanity”

    I don’t know man, that some serious comparo right there…(^_^)…but yeah, like is been said, DARN SHAME.

    Let’s forget about the past that will never return and look forward to what the future has in store.

    New RSV4? Maybe a Liter+ Daytona(M.Y 2999?) Baby Panigale?…oh yeah…screw those pesky I4s…xcept the CrossPlane guy. LOL.

  • Faust

    @ MikeD

    I hear nothing but good things about the crossplane, but I’m just not sold on the R1’s styling. At this point I really have no idea what my next bike will be. I currently have a CBR600RR and I am convinced that if I get a CBR 1000 then Honda will release something really great the following year just to spite me. I am still in shock that there are no Yamahas in WSBK this year. It’s sad.

  • MikeD


    I hear ya on the R1 styling. (O_o)…i doubt Honda comes out with some fancy super sport sharp tool…like all the other Nihongo Motorcycle OEMs they are on a HEAVY DOSE of Preparation H ’til the economy gets better…(Saddest part ? there’s no time frame on that).

    Yamaha called it quits fair and square [like a year ago ?] they even had their official anaouncement thingy.
    If u mean by some privateer team campaining them then im just lost as u are. Maybe cause there’s no more factory support (fancy factory speed parts) ?

  • Faust

    @ Mike D

    Yeah, I remember when Yamaha announced their pullout from the series (oddly it was right after a great showing by Laverty and Melandri). The shocking thing for me is that after the success of ParkinGO BE1 Racing in WSS, and their obvious interest in representing Yamaha in WSBK that Yamaha didn’t jump on it. Look at what ParkinGO (and Davies and Scassa) did for the R6. They resurrected that bike in the 600 class, so I really don’t understand Yamaha not jumping at the chance to have them lead the team for the 1000s. It seemed to me that it would be a perfect chance to have the same type of success that Ducati had with Althea at a much cheaper price then running a full team. Especially since Spies, Melandri, and Laverty already proved the current generation of the R1 can be competative. I’m at a loss.

  • Ricardo

    When Kawasaki wins as many run away races as Ducati won in 2011 then they should get a weight penalty.