Melandri remains on top as day one ends
Strongs winds see top for fail to better their morning time
South-easterly winds whipping up around 30km/h this afternoon and gusts as high as 44km/h made things difficult for World Superbike competitors in their second and final two-hour practice session today thus few riders managed to improve on their morning benchmarks.
Morning pacesetter Marco Melandri stayed atop the timesheets based on his earlier laps and likewise Tom Sykes, Jonathan Rea and Leon Camier trod water this afternoon without improving and that is how the leading quartet finished the opening day of the two-day test ahead of this weekend’s WorldSBK season opener at Phillip Island. Rea also went down today but was unhurt. Tom Sykes was the quickest rider in this afternoon’s windy session with a 1m31.209.
Michael Van der Mark though bucked the trend and lowered his morning marker of 1m32.113 down to an impressive 1m31.682 this afternoon. His teammate Alex Lowes also improved and moved up the leaderboard from 10th to 8th on combined times.
Daniel Falzon was the only one of the wildcard entries to improve this afternoon and ended the day 21st quickest.
Wayne Maxwell remained the leading Australia despite being pushed down the leaderboard a couple of places this afternoon, a 1m33.180 good enough for 16th quickest.
Troy Herfoss also lost some places to other riders that managed to improve this morning and ended the day 20th on the combined scorecard with his 1m33.652 from the morning session.
It should be noted that all of the Australian wildcards are simply riding their ASBK specification machines in the WorldSBK outing with very limited changes, thus are considerably down on power compared to the much more modified WorldSBK machinery.
Falzon was slowest through the speed trap this afternoon at 279.1km/h and his countrymen were also at the back of the top speed data with Maxwell on 282.7km/h and Herfoss 285km/h. Speeds were down this afternoon across the board due to the win but it was Ducati 1-2-3 through the speed traps with Fores on 298.3km/h from Davies and Melandri who both recorded 297.5km/h.
World Superbike Practice Two Results
- Melandri – Ducati 1m30.726
- Sykes – Kawasaki 1m31.067
- Rea – Kawasaki 1m31.259
- Camier – Honda 1m31.554
- Van der Mark – Yamaha 1m31.682
- Fores – Ducati 1m31.706
- Laverty – Aprilia 1m31.873
- Lowes – Yamaha 1m31.914
- Torres – MV Agusta 1m31.946
- Davies – Ducati 1m32.054
- Baz – BMW 1m32.157
- Savadori – Aprilia 1m32.451
- Razgatlioglu – Kawasaki 1m32.750
- Ramos – Kawasaki 1m32.801
- Mercado – Kawasaki 1m33.058
- Maxwell – Yamaha 1m33.180
- Gagne – Honda 1m33.290
- Jezek – Yamaha 1m33.298
- Hernandez – Kawasaki 1m33.535
- Herfoss – Honda 1m33.652
- Falzon – Yamaha 1m34.069
- Jacobsen – Honda 1m34.410
Starting under the sun on Monday morning, 24 FIM Supersport World Championship riders took to the track for the final pre-season test of the year. Strong winds were a force to contend with, but riders were still able to impress out on track. It was Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who took the first honours of the week, setting a lap time of 1.34.088.
Reigning world champion Mahias opened the year in strong form, and finished the mornings session at the top of the timing screens, over 0.329s ahead of his rivals.
Yamaha Team-mate Federico Caricasulo was the second fastest rider in the morning, whilst Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) impressed by ending in the top three.
However, the main protagonist’s weren’t far behind and Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was fourth in the morning, with new addition to the paddock Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) in fifth.
With 2013 champion Sam Lowes still holding the lap record here with a lap of 1.32.545s, it would be a hard one for the riders to beat in today’s conditions especially as the wind continued to beat around the circuit in the afternoon.
Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) was spending his time getting used to the Italian machine, surviving a crash at turn three.
Stapleford was not shy out on track and was challenging for the top position with just under an hour remaining. Ending the day in third overall, he was just 0.322s behind the top two riders and a positive 2018 beckons for the Brit.
World Supersport rookie Cortese ended his first official day in the top four, ahead of five time WorldSSP champion Sofuoglu in fifth.
With a new team for this season and his first time out on track, Jules Cluzel (NRT) impressed on his first ever day with the team after finishing the day in sixth.
Mike Di Meglio (GMT94 Yamaha) is a new face in the WorldSSP paddock, and is preparing to make his debut with the YZF-R6 around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Finishing the day in 12th overall, the French World Endurance specialist put in a strong start to his WSS campaign.
Home hero Antony West (EAB antwest Racing) had a strong day at his home circuit, and was only 0.8686s off the top of the timing screens as he continues to work with his new team and ended the day eighth quickest.
Brit youngster Andrew Irwin crashed today and has fractured his hand, ruling him out of this weekend’s opening race of the season. Irwin will be operated on in Melbourne and expects to be back on the CIA Landlord Insurance Honda at the following round in Thailand but will be replaced by Queenslander Aiden Wagner this weekend (Link).
Wildcard Tom Toparis ended today’s practice sessions 19th quickest while countryman Lachlan Epis rounded out the field in 24th.
World Supersport Practice Two Results
- Mahias – Yamaha 1m34.008
- Caricasulo – Yamaha 1m34.109
- Stapleford – Triumph 1m34.410
- Cortese – Yamaha 1m34.447
- Sofuoglu – Kawasaki 1m34.565
- Cluzel – Yamaha 1m34.703
- Krummenacher – Yamaha 1m34.844
- West – Kawasaki 1m34.956
- De Rosa – MV Agusta 1m35.011
- Badovini – MV Agusta 1m35.031
- Smith – Honda 1m35.074
- Di Meglio – Yamaha 1m35.115
- Tuuli – Honda 1m35.311
- Okubo – Kawasaki 1m35.397
- Canducci – Kawasaki 1m35.655
- Hill – Triumph 1m36.152
- Gradinger – Yamaha 1m36.197
- Van Sikkelerus – Honda 1m36.215
- Toparis – Kawasaki 1m36.318
- Calero – Kawasaki 1m36.413
- Cresson – Yamaha 1m36.491
- Irwin – Honda 1m36.716
- Soomer – Honda 1m36.716
- Epis – Kawasaki 1m37.457