— Carlos Checa sets a sizzling time
— Countdown to the island’s fastest world superbike race on record this weekend
Spaniard Carlos Checa has vaulted up the timesheets on day two to conclude the World Superbike official test at Phillip Island with the fastest time on his Ducati, ahead of Italian BMW rider Marci Melandri and Briton Leon Camier on a Suzuki.
Checa, a four-time WSBK race winner at Phillip Island over the last three years, set a best lap of 1m31.059s on his new Panigale 1199RS to prove that he’ll be ready to circulate at the front of the pack when the 2013 title commences at the recently resurfaced 4.445km grand prix circuit from this Friday to Sunday (February 22-24).
And based on the sizzling times set over the last two days on the new track, this Phillip Island WSBK round is shaping up to be the fastest on record, with the current lap record of 1:31.785 of Max Biaggi (2012) set to be dismantled in Sunday’s pair of 22-lap races.
Melandri wasn’t far behind Checa with a 1:31.237, while Camier (1:31.243), Kawasaki’s world No. 2 Tom Sykes (1:31.261) and impressive privateer Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia, 1:31.350) have also taken to the resurfaced Phillip Island track.
There was less than one second between the top 12 riders over the two days, with title heavyweights such as Jonathan Rea (Honda), Eugene Laverty (Aprilia), Leon Haslam (Honda) and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) all producing times which will ensure they also give Sunday’s races a big shake.
Australia’s wild card, Sydney’s Glenn Allerton (BMW) was 13th fastest in the test, going nearly two seconds faster on day two to stop the clock at 1:32.159; while Melbourne’s Jamie Stauffer (Honda, 1:32.231) was right behind in 14th.
Twenty-one riders made it out onto the track today, including Checa’s team-mate Ayrton Badovini for the first time since a big crash in private testing at Phillip Island last Friday.
Best times of two day test
1. Carlos Checa – Ducati Panigale 1m31.059
2. Marco Melandri – BMW 1m31.237
3. Leon Camier – Suzuki 1m31.243
4. Tom Sykes – Kawasaki 1m31.261
5. Michel Fabrizio – Aprilia 1m31.350
6. Jonathan Rea – Honda 1m31.356
7. Leon Haslam – Honda 1m31.396
8. Eugene Laverty – Aprilia 1m31.452
9. Davide Giugliano – Aprilia 1m31.640
10. Sylvain Guintoli – Aprilia 1m31.658
13. Glen Allerton – BMW (Australia) 1m32.159
14. Jamie Stauffer – Honda (Australia) 1m32.231
In World Wupersport, Britain’s Sam Lowes put in a flyer in the final outing to clock the fastest time of the four test sessions, a 1m33.076 s lap on his Honda. He set the pace ahead of defending champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki ) with a two day best of 1m33.384s and veteran Fabien Foret third quickest with a 1m33.614s time on his Kawasaki.
The best of the Australians was Taree’s Josh Hook (11TH) with a 1m34.607s lap on his Honda – his personal best on the Phillip Island circuit. Yamaha’s Kevin Curtain was 15th (1m34.708); Wollongong’s Mitch Carr was 25th on the AARK Triumph after missing Monday’s first session (1m35.225s) while Matt Davies sat in 28th with a test best of 1m35.429s on his Honda.
WORLD SUPERSPORT – Best times of two day test
1. Sam Lowes – Yamaha 1m33.076
2. Kenan Sofuoglu – Kawasaki 1m33.384
3. Fabien Foret – Kawasaki 1m33.614
4. Michael VD Mark – Honda 1m33.874
5. David Salom – Kawasaki 1m33.950
6. Gabor Talmacsi – Honda 1m34.048
7. Vladimir Leonov – Yamaha 1m34.140
8. Fabio Menghi – Yamaha 1m34.258
11. Josh Hook – Honda 1m34.607
15. Kevin Curtain – Yamaha 1m34.708
25. Mitchell Carr – Triumph 1m35.225
28. Matt Davies – Honda 1m35.429