Round One – Phillip Island
WorldSSP Free Practice Two
With Chris Plumridge
MV Agusta have gone fastest in Free Practice 2 for the FIM Supersport World Championship Yamaha Finance Round at Phillip Island, with Swiss rider Randy Krummenacher beating Andrea Locatelli (Bardahl Yamaha) and Krummenacher’s team-mate Raffaele De Rosa to claim the top of the leaderboard.
After a red-flag interrupted session took us late into the afternoon, Krummenacher claimed fastest time after the chequered flag, stealing P1 from Locatelli at the death. The session took place in vastly different conditions to this morning’s rain interrupted FP1, with sunshine and warm temperatures allowing riders to unleash.
As the session opened there was a veritable stampede to get out on track, with everyone except Krummenacher (MV Agusta) and Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) waiting at the end of the pitlane for the green light- the two stragglers were out on track not long after. Clearly everyone was keen to make up for lost time spent waiting for the rain to clear this morning, though finding the space to get a clear lap in might be a challenge. Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing Yamaha) was off the track at Honda Corner on his second lap, but resumed – no harm done.
As the riders posted their first round of lap times, Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Yamaha) emerged at the front of the field (1:34.220), two-tenths up on Krummenacher in second. Half the field was looking like a Supersport 300 field as this stage- a pack of bikes all drafting each other down the straight while the others preferred to try and find some clean air.
Locatelli (1:33.901) advanced the mark further, while Krummenacher improved his time to a 1:33.914 in his debut on the MV Agusta. Krummenacher had said at the 2020 World Superbike launch that adapting to the MV Agusta would be a challenge, so to be on the pace at this early stage was impressive. Further through the field, Oli Bayliss was clearly giving it a red-hot crack, evidenced by his 1:35.667, good enough for 12th and a wild moment over Lukey Heights.
Having completed their first stint most of the field disappeared back into the pits as quickly as they appeared, leaving only six riders still circulating. Isaac Vinales (Kalio Racing) had only done two-laps until this point but he was back out of the pits with half an hour still to go.
A few more practice pitstops were happening at this point too, teams preparing for the flag-to-flag conditions for tomorrow where riders would complete a mandatory one-minute-18-second pit-stop to change tyres. No big position changes were taking place at this point, save for Vinales who was now in eleventh spot and making up for his absence earlier (1:32.222).
Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) had just moved from ninth into fourth spot with a 1:34.002, when a pair of Cape Barren geese decided that they’d like to get a closer look at the bikes- red flag. A not uncommon occurrence at the Island! While the riders took the opportunity to chat to their engineers, quick work from one of our hard working volunteer Boundary Riders soon had the geese looking for a safer vantage point and we were ready to go again. So ready, in fact, that again the riders gathered at the end of pit-lane hoping to squeeze in every second of track time they could.
As the field got up to speed again, Krummenacher was straight down to business, a 1:33.701 taking him to the top. A problem with Cluzel’s bike through Turn 12 saw the engine go up in smoke- the resultant oil laid down into Turn 1 and 2 saw oil on the circuit and Odendall and Soomer hit the deck when they encountered it. Red flag once again, and no quick re-start this time. This would be a lengthy clean-up job.
After a huge clean-up job by the officials, we finally got back underway at 1710 in the afternoon (the session had an original scheduled finish time of 1645), to finish the last 22-and-a-half-minutes of the practice session. Soomer’s team had time in the break to put the bike back together and get him back out there, however Odendaal had not yet re-emerged. Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta), having not set a time in the morning session, didn’t appear to be hampered by his lack of morning running with a 1:33.995 to lock him into fourth behind Locatelli, Krummenacher and Odendaal, 2017 WorldSSP champion Lucas Mahias was now fifth (1:33.996).
Locatelli had lowered his best to a 1:33.337, and Randy Krummenacher was now on a charge after Locatelli’s time. His 1:33.496 not good enough to catch the Italian but the best effort by anyone else so far. Our red flag culprit Cluzel was also back out on track and sitting seventh fastest.
With five minutes to go there were a few more riders looking to improve their times, De Rosa running wide at Turn 4 onto the escape road. A number of riders led by Can Alexander Oncu (Turkish Racing Kawasaki) were sitting up at Turn 11, looking for a clear lap, but with Locatelli further lowering the mark to 1:33.264 that seemed like it might be a moot point. But Krummenacher was on a charge as the chequered flag came out, three tenths up at the final split and closing on a heap of traffic looking to time their run for the line. It didn’t matter, the Swiss rider on top of the leaderboard with a 1:32.894 to top the session.
Australian Wild Card Oli Bayliss ended the session in 18th, posting a 1:35.191.
The Yamaha Finance Round of the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship continues until Sunday (1 March) from Phillip Island.
WorldSSP Free Practice Two Results
|R. De Rosa
|YZF R6F3 675
|J. Van Sikkelerus
|G. Hendra Pratama