Tom Toparis talks Phillip Island Official WSBK Test Day 1
With Mark Bracks – Images by GeeBee
Tom Toparis kicked off Day 1 of the official Phillip Island WorldSBK Test today, setting the ninth fastest time in the initial session of the day, before finishing the day 14th overall on the combined timesheets.
Setting a final best of 1m35.690s on the Landbridge Transport Yamaha YZF-R6, Toparis was still coming to terms today with the additional power of the World Supersport spec’ machine, and the difference that makes compared to riding the Australian Supersport machinery. He will compete on both bikes in the double-header WorldSBK and ASBK season opener this weekend at Phillip Island.
We caught up with Tom Toparis on the conclusion of Day 1 of the Official Test to see how we was progressing.
Tom Toparis Interview
MCNews.com.au: Tom Toparis talk us through your day, you ended up 14th fastest?
Tom Toparis: “I don’t know where I ended up actually, we didn’t finish the session. It wasn’t a bad day, just struggled a little bit with overall grip on every corner. If we sort that out, I think that I will be a lot faster. I was following a lot of the fast guys, and the place I was losing time was on similar corners.
“If we can sort out the issues we’re trying to fix… tomorrow we have Adrian [Monti] coming so hopefully he can come up with something. Hopefully we can just sort that little bit in every turn and obviously hope for a big gain. The bike feels OK and the conditions are obviously good as everyone’s going quite fast. We still have a bit of work to do and I know we can go a lot faster than we did today.”
MCNews.com.au: What’s your speed like compared to the others when you’re in a slipstream?
Tom Toparis: “I haven’t looked at the actual times, in the first session I think I was just under 10km/h off, but that was with different gearing, now we’ve gone longer with the gearing, so it should be closer. And in a tow and everything you don’t know where everyone is at.
“I don’t think I’ve been passed in the straight yet, not that I’ve been riding with anyone particularly. I think the bike is pretty much there, in terms of power… there’s no real excuses from my side.”
MCNews.com.au: What is it like with the new gearbox?
Tom Toparis: “It’s not been a problem so far, I think when I mix it with the Aussie stuff – hopefully I don’t make too many mistakes. Basically it’s just one extra gear going into first into MG and Honda. It’s a little bit different through the Hayshed, but we still haven’t actually sorted out what we want to do yet.
“In the Hayshed… it’s just a close ratio, so it’s definitely different, going back five gears into Honda. So it’s a lot of work to do and I’m getting used to it. Tomorrow if everything goes our way, I think we’ll be able to get into the 1:34s I hope.”
MCNews.com.au: Has today refocused your ambition for the weekend?
Tom Toparis: “Not really, you know I really want to win the Aussie stuff straight away – that has to happen, but Sam and the guys are trying so hard to do well in the Worlds, I really want to do as good as I can.
“Obviously Aiden did really well when he was on the same motors – he was on the same motors as I’ve got, so if I can do something like he did on these motors, then I’ll be very happy. Still a little bit of work to do in certain places, but overall the bike is not too bad.
“I just want the bike to feel like it did the other day, when I was here on the Aussie bike. Just that little bit more power is upsetting me through the long corners with grip, at the moment, that’s pretty much the issue we’re having, but if we can get around that we’ll be sweet.”
MCNews.com.au: So you notice a big different in power from the [Australian] Supersport?
Tom Toparis: “Yep, it’s just that little bit everywhere. If you had an Aussie bike in there you could get away with it, but just that little bit extra power over an entire lap, that extra couple of km average across an entire lap, at the end of the lap it ends up being a second or two faster, so it’s definitely a different bike.
“We’re still trying to get comfortable. This weekend we have some new parts, new handlebars and rear sets and whatnot, so just trying to get comfortable with that. I think it’ll be alright.”
MCNews.com.au: The tyre you were using, is that new?
Tom Toparis: “Yep new tyre, same tyre, same compound as the Aussie one (190), but different carcass, because last year they had issues, people were blowing them up last year. So Pirelli made the same tyre with a much stiffer carcass, and the same compound.
“It’s not a lot different, but over the race distance it should be better, you would think – in theory. We didn’t use a lot of tyres today, so tomorrow hopefully I can come up with something, and see if we can do some good times.”
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