With the World Superbike season almost upon us, the WSBK grid is at Phillip Island for two days of testing, ahead of the first event of the year which starts this weekend.
Rain disrupted practice for WSBK, just as it had for MotoGP last week, though the consequences were less severe. The rain and track conditions saw a few people fall – some, such as Karel Abraham, quite hard – but everyone will be fit to start testing again tomorrow.
With the start of the season so close, most of the work being done was on set up for the weekend, and it was once again the Kawasakis who came out on top, especially during the afternoon session.
Tom Sykes ended up on top of the timesheets, much to the delight of the Kawasaki man, who has historically not fared well at the circuit.
Sykes finished nearly two tenths ahead of his teammate, reigning world champion Jonathan Rea, a result that pleased him.
In response to questions about Rea’s statements at the Kawasaki launch that the bike had been built around Sykes, the Yorkshireman seized the opportunity to take a jab back, calling Rea’s words “a cheap comment.”
Third fastest was Dutchman Michael van der Mark, the Ten Kate Honda rider traditionally strong in Australia. Van der Mark was fastest in the morning, but could not better his pace in the afternoon, ending the day four tenths behind Sykes.
Jordi Torres grabbed fourth spot, the Spaniard making a successful transition from Aprilia to BMW, while Nicky Hayden had a strong start to his World Superbike career with the fifth fastest time overall, and fourth in the afternoon.
The brand new Yamaha R1 showed immediate signs of being competitive on its debut, Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes ending the day in sixth and seventh, half a second off the pace of Sykes, and with plenty of room for improvement.
Xavi Fores ended the day as the fastest of the Ducatis, the Spaniard making a very strong debut in World Superbikes after his years in the German IDM championship, ending ahead of the two factory bikes of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano.
Overall, the tightness of the field showed promise, the top ten separated by just seven tenths of a second, while the gap from Van der Mark in third to Davies in ninth is less than two tenths.
The combined times are shown at the top of the page. Testing continues on Tuesday, before the riders get a couple of days off ahead of the season opener.
World Superbike Combined Test Times from Phillip Island:
|1||T. Sykes||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1.31.097||–||–||FP2|
|2||J. Rea||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1.31.293||0.196||0.196||FP2|
|3||M. Van Der Mark||Honda CBR1000RR SP||1.31.510||0.413||0.217||FP1|
|4||J. Torres||BMW S1000 RR||1.31.526||0.429||0.016||FP2|
|5||N. Hayden||Honda CBR1000RR SP||1.31.558||0.461||0.032||FP2|
|6||S. Guintoli||Yamaha YZF R1||1.31.583||0.486||0.025||FP2|
|7||A. Lowes||Yamaha YZF R1||1.31.620||0.523||0.037||FP2|
|8||X. Fores||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||1.31.661||0.564||0.041||FP2|
|9||C. Davies||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||1.31.678||0.581||0.017||FP2|
|10||D. Giugliano||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||1.31.810||0.713||0.132||FP2|
|11||M. Reiterberger||BMW S1000 RR||1.31.928||0.831||0.118||FP2|
|12||R. Ramos||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1.32.500||1.403||0.572||FP2|
|13||L. Camier||MV Agusta 1000 F4||1.32.707||1.610||0.207||FP2|
|14||J. Brookes||BMW S1000 RR||1.32.714||1.617||0.007||FP1|
|15||L. Savadori||Aprilia RSV4 1000 RR/RF||1.32.892||1.795||0.178||FP2|
|16||M. Jones||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||1.33.051||1.954||0.159||FP2|
|17||S. Barrier||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1.33.147||2.050||0.096||FP2|
|18||F. Menghi||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||1.33.251||2.154||0.104||FP2|
|19||J. Hook||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1.33.792||2.695||0.541||FP2|
|20||A. De Angelis||Aprilia RSV4 1000 F||1.33.979||2.882||0.187||FP1|
|21||K. Abraham||BMW S1000 RR||1.34.706||3.609||0.727||FP1|
|22||D. Schmitter||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1.35.640||4.543||0.934||FP2|
|23||S. Al Sulaiti||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1.36.121||5.024||0.481||FP2|
|24||I. Toth||Yamaha YZF R1||1.36.463||5.366||0.342||FP2|
|25||P. Sebestyen||Yamaha YZF R1||1.37.927||6.830||1.464||FP2|
Source: WorldSBK; Photos: © 2016 Steve English – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.