Suzuki’s new signing, Eugene Laverty, fastest at Phillip Island test
New Suzuki signing Eugene Laverty has set the pace on day one of the two day world superbike test at Phillip Island as final preparations continue prior to the 2014 season kick off at the seaside circuit this weekend (February 21-23).
Laverty remained on top of the timesheets in this afternoon’s second two-hour session, but was unable to better his morning time of 1min30.513secs.
Eugene Laverty – fastest today in day one of the world superbike test at Phillip Island: “Today’s probably the best conditions I’ve ever rode Phillip Island, usually you have a strong head wind, strong tail wind, or its too hot and slippery. Today was optimum temperature, very little wind so that’s why the lap times were so quick today.”
Ducati’s Davide Guigliano (1:30.718) made up two positions in the afternoon to slot in behind Laverty, followed by the two Kawasakis of world champion Tom Sykes (1:30.737) and Loris Baz (1:30.757).
Sykes was the biggest workaholic over the two sessions, logging a combined total of 67 laps around the 4.45km circuit.
World superbike rookie Alex Lowes (Suzuki) was superb on his first outing at Phillip Island, stopping the clock at 1:31.000.
Alex Lowes – an impressive fifth fastest on the Suzuki today..his first visit to Phillip Island – “It’s an awesome track. It’s a track that I have dreamed of racing on since I was a kid, watching Mick Doohan in the 90’s race around here and obviously Casey Stoner was awesome round here. I was really looking forward to it and it didn’t disappoint. The last corner I love, the third corner, Stoner Corner is probably one of the best corners I’ve ever ridden around..it’s great. It’s quite difficult to learn because of the speed but it’s a fantastic track and a perfect setting.”
Lowes was followed by Aprilia’s Marco Melandri (1:31.146), Leon Haslam (Honda, 1:31.172), Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia, 1:31.321), Jonathan Rea (Honda, 1:31.404) and Chaz Davies (Ducati, 1:31.419).
Haslam, Guintoli and lap record holder Laverty will be the only riders on this weekend’s round one grid to have won world superbike races at Phillip Island.
Meanwhile, Niccolo Canepa (Ducati, 1:31.897) maintained his position as the fastest EVO rider, and was 11th overall on day one.
Among those to crash in the afternoon session were Italian Michael Fabrizio (Kawasaki) and Frenchman Sylvain Barrier (BMW), both transported to Melbourne for x-rays and assessment.
In world supersport testing, world No. 2 Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) was the standout, well ahead of Michael van der Mark (Honda) and Russian Vladamir Leonov (MV Agusta).
Australia’s Bryan Staring, in his first hitout with new team Rivamoto, was 16th overall on a Honda, with his fellow Aussies Billy McConnell (Triumph) and Ryan Taylor (Yamaha) 19th and 22nd in the 25-bike pack.
Irishman Jack Kennedy (Honda) was fourth overall, but crashed at turn two and was transported to Melbourne for scans on a suspected broken right ankle.
Both the world superbike and world supersport riders will have two further session tomorrow, with world superbike the first on track at 9am.
World Superbike Monday 1st and 2nd sessions combined
Laverty (Suzuki) 1’30.513 average 176.912 kph
Giugliano (Ducati) 1’30.718
Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’30.737
Baz (Kawasaki) 1’30.757
Lowes (Suzuki) 1’31.000
Melandri (Aprilia) 1’31.146
Haslam (Honda) 1’31.172
Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’31.321
Rea (Honda) 1’31.404
Davies (Ducati) 1’31.419
Canepa (Ducati) 1’31.897
Elias (Aprilia) 1’32.301
Salom (Kawasaki) 1’32.636
Corti (MV Agusta) 1’32.858
Barrier (BMW) 1’32.997
Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1’33.509
Foret (Kawasaki) 1’33.676
Morais (Kawasaki) 1’33.954
Scassa (Kawasaki) 1’33.960
Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1’34.140
Fabrizio (Kawasaki) 1’34.314
Toth (BMW) 1’36.258
May (EBR) 1’38.152
Yates (EBR) 1’39.656
Sebestyen (BMW) 1’42.242.
World Supersport Monday 1st and 2nd sessions combined
Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’33.521 average 171.221 kph
Vd Mark (Honda) 1’33.918
Leonov (MV Agusta) 1’34.360
Kennedy (Honda) 1’34.393
Menghi (Yamaha) 1’34.402
Russo (Honda) 1’34.550
Coghlan (Yamaha) 1’34.619
Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 1’34.723
Zanetti (Honda) 1’34.860
Marino (Kawasaki) 1’34.944
Wilairot (Honda) 1’35.102
De Rosa (Honda) 1’35.114
Tamburini (Kawasaki) 1’35.137
Calero (Honda) 1’35.370
Cluzel (MV Agusta) 1’35.544
Staring (Honda) 1’35.651
Gamarino (Kawasaki) 1’35.750
Wahr (Yamaha) 1’35.900
McConnell (Triumph) 1’35.917
Bussolotti (Honda) 1’36.084
Coveña (Kawasaki) 1’36.896
Taylor (Yamaha) 1’37.358
Gowland (Triumph) 1’37.366
Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1’37.870
Ivanov (Yamaha) 1’38.232
Rogers (Honda) 1’39.020
Voltcom Cresent Suzuki Report
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki finished the first day of testing at Phillip Island in Australia in fine style today with Eugene Laverty topping the times – and WSBK rookie Alex Lowes in fifth position overall with a lap time only 0.5s behind his experienced team-mate.
Laverty took to the 4,445m Victoria circuit aboard the newly liveried Suzuki GSX-R1000 aiming for a base time of 1’33.0 with which to start the two-day test, but with conditions almost perfect he exceeded even his own expectations. Putting in a time of 1’30.5, Laverty ended the morning session as the rider to beat. New to the Phillip Island circuit, Lowes learnt the track quickly, and despite a small crash in the latter stages, concluded the first session comfortably in the top ten, with a lap time of 1’31.6 placing him eighth.
Clear blue skies allowed temperatures in the afternoon session to climb to a pleasant 23°C with a south westerly wind occasionally catching riders out. Lowes continued to improve throughout the day ending the afternoon in fourth place for the second session with a time of 1’31.0, and holding fifth in the combined standings. Laverty’s morning time proved a tough call for the challenging pack and the Irishman concluded the first day’s testing with the strongest time overall.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will now continue to assess the data collected, in readiness for tomorrow’s final day of testing at the Australian track, before the eni FIM Superbike World Championship’s first race of the 2014 season commences this Sunday.
Eugene Laverty: “We surprised ourselves with the lap time today. We were a lot faster than where I’d set my goal and the fact that the bike works so well around here is nice too! Today is probably the best conditions I’ve ever had at Phillip Island; usually you have a strong head wind, strong tail wind, or it’s too hot and slippery. Today was optimum temperature with very little wind so that’s why the lap times were so quick. In terms of feedback the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R is better than any Superbike I’ve ridden here, I can really attack the course more than I ever have done, and that gives me a lot of confidence. The rear tyres are working well too; even after 24 laps we are still under my lap record so that’s definitely positive!”
Alex Lowes: “Today was good fun! It’s always difficult coming to a new track but Phillip Island is a track that I have dreamed of racing on since I was a kid, I was really looking forward to it and it didn’t disappoint. It’s quite difficult to learn because of the speed but it’s fantastic. I love the last corner and Stoner Corner is probably one of the best I’ve ever ridden around. I had a couple of issues with the bike this morning and missed a bit of time and had a little crash, which was my fault, but the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R has performed better every time I’ve been out. We’ve taken some good steps in the right direction and hopefully we’ll continue to do more tomorrow. I’m reasonably happy with where we are and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
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