WSBK: Sykes Fastest at Phillip Island Official Testing

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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