Scintillating Sylvain tops WorldSBK FP2 at Phillip Island
Friday times now decide entry to the Saturday Superpole sessions, and the man who leads the way after a day of track time is 2014 WorldSBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli. The Frenchman was the only man to drop into the 1m30s all day. the Pata YZF-R1 rider almost four-tenths clear of Honda rider Michael Van Der Mark.
With much of the session dedicated to longer runs, the expected dash for the line in the last stage of the session saw a lot of track action. Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea did a long and consistent run as he duelled with Michael Van Der Mark for the top spot in both long run and one lap pace, before Guintoli dropped his time significantly with a lap that proved unbeatable by the end of the session.
Michael van der Mark
“We started very well this morning and I was able to get up to speed quite quickly. I decided not to go for a lap time in the end, as we were already pretty safe. This afternoon we tried a different tyre, I went out and we did a long run, which wasn’t planned but it turned out to be a really good one.
“After that we opted for a different compound but I wasn’t able to get the same feeling out of it. In the end I’m very happy with second place, we have qualified directly to Superpole 2 and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
“Day one of my new beginning is over and it wasn’t too bad. Of course, I always would like to be faster and I would have loved to be more consistent in the afternoon, but I was able to go a bit quicker than during the test. I just need to get comfortable with how the bike moves around in changing direction and on corner exit, but I think it’s just my feeling because, after looking at the data, the team says that it isn’t moving much. I think I need to be gentler while changing direction in order not to upset it too much. I’m glad we made it to Superpole 2 and we’ll work on something tomorrow morning.”
Jonathan Rea showed great pace all session and his race pace is set to be fierce as will his teammate Tom Sykes, the Kawasaki pair finishing Friday third and fourth respectively.
“I am really happy to get the first race weekend of the year started. We have been lucky because having a test here earlier in the week means we already have a good base. Pere and Paolo and all the guys have worked really hard in the test to analyse many things and we arrived here today with a good starting point. We are fine-tuning now.
“The track temperatures today were a lot lower than during the tests so the race simulation we made in the afternoon was a little bit faster. Pirelli has also brought a new race tyre and they asked me to make a run on it. It has good potential and we will check it again in the cooler conditions.
“I am quite happy to go into Superpole tomorrow with a bike that is comfortable to ride. The new system in practice is OK, just fine, and I was always looking to race on Saturday, because the guys normally make a good set up and we can be quite quick. I am excited to wake up tomorrow for the first race of the year.”
“We had a couple of things we wanted to confirm today and now we can put our best package together and be happy to go into Saturday. We did not end the day with a long run like we wanted but in terms of everything else we have a good understanding.
“The new weekend format is relatively OK. The day has finished quite early so we have all afternoon now to put our heads together and I think we can box the job off. Tomorrow will be a busy day with Superpole and the first race on the same day but even in testing we understood we had a very good set-up. Now we will go back to basics and focus our attention on Superpole 2 and the first race.”
Leon Camier gave MV Agusta the honour of being the fastest Italian motorcycle around Phillip Island today with an impressive 1m31.445 on the delectable MV Agusta F4.
Davide Giugliano finished in seventh position in the combined time sheets (+0.662 behind Sylvain Guintoli, taking three-tenths of a second off his personal best in between sessions, and trying the new rear-tyre options brought by Pirelli specifically for this track.
“Overall, it’s been an undoubtedly positive day. We worked a bit more on performance during the tests, and we’re now focusing on consistency to make the difference during the race. We prioritized pace, with some really good results. We still miss a bit of overall quickness, just two or three tenths to stay within the top three, but I’m confident I’ll find them together with my team. I’ve made a couple of good runs with different tyres, so the choice will just depend on the weather. I’m also curious about racing with the new schedule, which seems good to me.”
Chaz Davies made two prolonged runs in the morning session, showing a pace in the high 1:31 mark, but suffered some grip issues during FP2, where he still managed to improve by two tenths. The Welshman finished in eighth position (+0.728), right behind his teammate.
“In the morning I was quite satisfied with my performance, but in the afternoon we ran into some issues and, when we understood how to fix them, it was too late to work on the bike. It’s a bit unfortunate, because with the new format we have about half an hour less of track time on Saturday. Anyways, we’ll make some bigger changes tomorrow to find more grip. The pace at the top has been progressively faster and, while I’m confident about my speed over the race distance, we need to improve our performance on fresh tyres.”
Savadori put in a great lap on the Aprilia to finish ninth today. The fastest BMW was riderMarkus Reiterberger, the German rounds out the top ten and thus is the final rider inside the Superpole 2 cut-off.
“After completing some laps this morning, the gap from the leaders was very small. I wanted to improve with a long-run this afternoon but I did not manage to do so. In the end, even though I lost a position, I’m very pleased with the result but I want to further improve my riding sensations with the bike so that I can feel totally at ease.”
Alex Lowes was unable to replicate the pace of his pacesetting teammate and made a mistake on the Pata YZF-R1 near the end of the session and thus missed out on the top ten.
Mike Jones was the fastest Australian in what is, at this stage, his only wildcard appearance for the WorldSBK season. The 21-year-old piloting the Troy Bayliss backed Desmosport Ducati to a 1m32.476.
“The conditions on the track from the first practice to the second practice were very similar, it was quite windy, but we made a lot of improvements with the bike. The DesmoSport Ducati Team worked well together and we made some really good changes so I was able to feel a lot more comfortable.
“It’s good to have so much track time this weekend with racing the Wildcard, and the ASBK. I’ve been riding Phillip Island since 2007, so I know the circuit quite well and I’m doing a lot of riding this weekend, so it means I’m familiar with the circuit and it’s some what of an advantage.
“I am really happy with where we are in terms of lap times and my position, and we’re taking everything into consideration, so overall we are very happy with today.”
Josh Brookes was 18th quickest on the Milwaukee BMW.
Xavi Fores crashed at T12 and was taken to the medical center, suffering an abrasion on his knee, and is set to be reviewed after FP3. Peter Sebestyen also visited the Medical Center for a laceration on his leg, to be reviewed at the end of Friday.
Jordi Torres looks set to be struggling with the injury sustained in testing and will be hoping to gain more pace tomorrow.
“This morning I definitely wasn’t in the best physical shape and a small technical problem prevented me from lapping as I’d wanted, in fact I was only able to a few laps, while in the afternoon I couldn’t keep the bike stable. I’m still not feeling comfortable on the bike and I’m a bit disappointed because this afternoon I was able to regain that confidence that was missing somewhat this morning.”
WorldSBK will be back on track Saturday morning for another practice session before the first Superpole session takes place at 1230. The first WorldSBK race for season 2016 is scheduled for 1500 Saturday afternoon while race two will be at the same time on Sunday.
World Superbike 2016 – Round One – Qualifying Results (Superpole still to be run tomorrow)
Sylvain Guintoli – Yamaha 1m30.865
Michael Van der Mark – Honda 1m31.249
Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 1m31.324
Tom Sykes – Kawasaki 1m31.363
Leon Camier – MV Agusta 1m31.445
Nicky Hayden – Honda 1m31.475
Davide Giugliano – Ducati – 1m31.527
Chaz Davies – Ducati – 1m31.593
Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilia – 1m31.725
Markus Reiterberger – BMW – 1m31.792 (FP1)
Alex Lowes – Yamaha 1m31.825
Roman Ramos – Kawasaki 1m32.030
Xavi Fores – Ducati 1m32.070 (FP1)
Jordi Torres – BMW 1m32.370
Mike Jones – Ducati 1m32.476
Alex De Angelis – Aprilia 1m32.530
Sylvain Barrier – Kawasaki 1m32.553
Josh Brookes – BMW 1m32.704
Toprak Razgatlioglu – Kawasaki 1m33.459
Karel Abraham – BMW 1m33.491
Regarding the Superpole format and the use of qualifier rear tyres
the riders classified from 11th to the last will take part in Superpole 1 using standard race tyres
the ten fastest riders who will be seeded directly into Superpole 2 will get each one a qualifier rear tyre with aPirelli label applied on the side
the fastest two riders in Superpole 1 will access Superpole 2 and, only for this second session, they will receive a qualifier rear tyre marked with aPirelli label on the side
the qualifier rear tyres are marked with a sticker like all the tyres supplied
the riders taking part in Superpole 1 will all have a qualifier rear tyre fitted on the rim – due to it is impossible to determine in advance who might qualify for Superpole 2 and there would not be enough time in between the two sessions to equip the two riders with a qualifier rear tyre
the riders who do not get to Superpole 2 from Superpole 1 must return the unused qualifier rear tyre to Pirelli
Superpole is also being introduced into world supersport this year, and on today’s form reigning world champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) is looking the goods to start from the front after he was fastest across today’s two practice sessions — even after he was forced to sit out the second 60-minute outing with what appears to be an electrical problem.
Sofuoglu took top spot with 0.213secs to spare over Frenchman Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta, but the 2014 and 2015 winner at Phillip Island had his dramas after crashing at turn 12 this afternoon.
Moto2 convert Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki) was third overall from Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta), Kyle Ryde (Honda) and Patrick Jacobsen (Honda).
Queenslander Anthony West, who competed in the MotoGP race at Phillip Island in 2015, was 12th fastest on his Yamaha, with the next best Australian Glenn Scott (Honda) in 19th.
“We went a bit quicker in that second session. This morning I wasn’t happy with the bike, and it’s quite ambitious to put a team together in such a short time.
“I’ve raced a lot of these guys out here before and I know where I want to be. I want to be inside that top five or fighting for a podium, so that’s what I’m here to do, we just need to get the bike right.
“There’s a guy out here from America who came out here just to watch, and now he’s in my garage getting his hands dirty so we’re all pulling together to do the best we can with what we have.
“World Superbikes is where I want to be, and this weekend is about keeping my name out there and show that I’m still ready to race.”
Aiden Wagner (MV Agusta) was 21st, Mitch Levy (Yamaha in 23rd, Alex Phillis (Honda) in 24th, Kane Burns (Suzuki) in 25th and Lachlan Epis (Kawasaki) in 27th.
Superpole in WorldSSP follows the same protocols as WorldSBK, and starts at 1:30pm tomorrow. The 18-lap race is on Sunday at 1:30pm.
Tickets for the opening round of the 2016 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship, Yamaha Finance round are available at the gate. On-circuit camping available with 24 hour access, pay for camping spot at gate – bring your tent. Children 15 and under free for ticket entry and camping.
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