WSBK P.I. Test Image Gallery B – By Russell Colvin

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WSBK P.I. Test Image Gallery B – By Russell Colvin

British riders dominate opening WSBK test day at Phillip Island
By Trevor Hedge

Kawasaki recruit Jonathan Rea had topped the timesheets throughout the day as the first of two-days of World Superbike testing got underway beneath blue skies at Phillip Island today but in the dying seconds of the final session this afternoon countryman Alex Lowes knocked Rea out of top spot on the charts.  Lowes’ 1m31.332 the marker for the day a full three-tenths ahead of Rea, who had set his quickest time in the morning session.

Alex Lowes:  “It’s been a difficult day and I’m quite surprised to be fastest. We’ve had some issues to work through but the guys have worked really hard and done a fantastic job. We’re approaching this year differently to last, as I almost ruined my season before the first race last year by crashing, but this year I’m determined not to do the same again – obviously mistakes can happen but we’re working well. We’ve got some good information and feedback from today and I didn’t get frustrated when we had problems early on; I kept calm and went quite fast at the end. We’ve got a lot of work still to do – someone asked my expectations for Sunday, but I’m just looking forward to tomorrow morning, doing my best and then we’ll see what happens for the race weekend. Big credit to the guys and I really hope Randy is ok. Lez (my crew chief from last year) really helped this afternoon when we had some problems and that just shows the team we have this year. We might be one of the smaller factory set-ups but we are very strong and I think we are going to do a good job.”

Jonathan Rea: “We were working set-up for this track because I have not had the chance to ride the Ninja ZX-10R here before. We just arrived with our Jerez set-up, something we knew, but the set-up for this track is quite different. We got an understanding of the bike again and everything still feels quite new. We changed the balance and everything is going in the right way. We have not been thinking of lap times and when I put a new tyre in this afternoon we were not able to give it a good go. We have been consistent in both sessions and I was one of the fastest guys toward the end, until the session got red flagged. Then everybody went out again on new tyres for the last ten minutes.”

Leon Haslam was third quickest on the Red Devils Aprilia ahead of Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, the Yorkshireman rounding out an all U.K. top four in a sign of what could be impending British domination of WSBK season 2015.

Tom Sykes: “Today has been productive and we have been working in the right direction. We set an acceptable lap time and we were just working on some parameters of the Ninja ZX-10R, getting rid of some variables before we arrive in the race weekend. At the moment we are relatively happy and very relaxed. It is quite windy and that definitely has some influence on the handling of the bike, but it is always the same here in Pi. That has given us something to consider for race weekend but it is the same for everybody. For the position in terms of lap times I am happy enough. We used very minimal numbers of tyres and concentrated on our set-up, continuing on from our winter test plan.”

Jordi Torres looks to have successfully adapted from Moto2 to the heavier and much more powerful World Superbikes with the Spaniard putting his Aprilia into fifth spot ahead of the Ducati pairing of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies.  Giugliano’s fastest time was set in the morning session.

Randy De Puniet was eighth fastest on his morning time. The Frenchman was ejected from his GSX-R1000 at turn 11 and decided to sit out the afternoon session to nurse the various soft tissue injuries sustained in the tumble.

Randy de Puniet:   “The test started well today and I was in first position for most of this morning. My feeling with the bike was very good, we did some slight adjustments and I was confident working with new tyres to get a good feeling for the race. Five minutes before the end of the session I was P4 and I went out on fresh tyres with the plan to improve my lap-time, as my best was from my eighth lap on the tyre. On my second timed-lap I had a massive high-side at turn 11, I flew very high and came down hard on my back, with a lot of pain, it doesn’t look like anything is broken but it is very swollen so I decided not to ride this afternoon as it was impossible and we will see how it feels tomorrow morning. I hope to make some laps in the morning and if not, I will try again in the afternoon. I’m disappointed because it was a good start, but the most important thing is nothing is broken and I need to be ready for Friday and especially for Sunday. The bike is good and Alex has done the fastest time this afternoon so I think we can be confident and I hope I can be in the best condition for the race weekend.”

Honda pilot Michael Van der Mark’s 1m32.408 earned him ninth for the day, narrowly ahead of Nicolas Terol who rounded out the top ten.

2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli could have an uphill battle on his hands to successfull defend his title as the likeable Frenchman could only manage the 13th quickest time on the Pata Honda Fireblade. Guintoli is suffering from back injuries sustained in a high speed fall during testing at Jerez in January when the traction control system on the Pata Honda malfunctioned.

Australian wildcards Matt Walters and Jed Metcher, both riding Kawasakis, completed the day in 18th and 20th positions respectively. 

Giugliano crashed at turn 11 at the beginning of the afternoon session and did not return to the track  Both Baiocco and Terol stopped on the circuit with technical problems.

Chaz Davies recorded the highest top speed of the day with 305.9km/h on the Ducati Panigale R ahead of Rea’s Kawasaki that stopped the gun at 305.1km/h. While Guintoli looks to be struggling to match the pace of his rivals on lap times the Honda clearly showed good mumbo with the Fireblade registering the third quickest trap speed of 304.2km/h.

The WSBK riders will be back on track tomorrow in another pair of tw0-hour sessions to finalise their preparations ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island. 

WSBK Test Day One Combined Sessions

  1. Alex Lowes – Suzuki – 1m31.332
  2. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki – 1m31.663
  3. Leon Haslam – Aprilia – 1m31.692
  4. Tom Sykes – Kawasaki – 1m31.753
  5. Jordi Torres – Aprilia – 1m31.783
  6. Davide Giugliano – Ducati – 1m31.948
  7. Chaz Davies – Ducati – 1m32.114
  8. Randy De Puniet – Suzuki 1m32.402
  9. Michael Vd Mark – Honda – 1m32.408
  10. Nicolas Terol – Ducati – 1m32.425
  11. David Salom – Kawasaki – 1m32.588
  12. Leon Camier – MV Agusta – 1m32.885
  13. Sylvain Guintoli – Honda – 1m32.891
  14. Niccolo Canepa – EBR – 1m3.124
  15. Matteo Baiocco – Ducati – 1m3.477
  16. Sylvain Barrier – BMW – 1m3.497
  17. Leon Mercado – Ducati – 1m33.565
  18. Jed Metcher – Kawasaki – 1m34.382
  19. Ramos – Kawasaki – 1m34.577
  20. Matt Walters – Kawasaki – 1m34.637
  21. Larry Pegram – EBR – 1m35.006
  22. S Barragan – Kawasaki – 1m35.754
  23. G Rizmayer – BMW – 1m36.500
  24. C Ponsson – Kawasaki – 1m36.607
  25. Imre Toth – BMW – 1m36.873

World Superbike Phillip Island Test Image Gallery A

Sofuoglu dominates WSS Test Day One – Wagner ends day one sixth quickest

Australasian Supersport champion Aiden Wagner has made a promising start to a two-day world supersport test session at Phillip Island by setting the fourth fastest time in this morning’s opening 110-minute hitout.

The 20-year-old Queenslander set a best lap of 1min35.322secs on his locally built Yamaha to complete the first  session behind triple world champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki, 1:34.269), 2014 Phillip Island world supersport winner Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta, 1:34.968) and Italian Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta, 1:35.306).

The world supersport riders headed back out for their second and final session of the day this afternoon with Sofuoglu further lowering his mark to 1m33.734 on the Kawasaki ZX-6R.  MV Agusta teammates Cluzel and Zanetti improved by almost a full-second from their morning time to finish the day a lot closer to the Turk this afternoon.  

Jacobson and Gino Rea slipped past Wagner in the afternoon session to relegate the Australian to sixth fastest on a 1m35.055. 

Wagner, who competed in last year’s Moto2 world championship race at Phillip Island, will be one of three Aussie wildcards in this Sunday’s world supersport race, alongside Alex Phillis (Honda) and Sam Lambert (Triumph).

Aiden Wagner – “I’m riding the thing pretty hard, what I am losing out on the straights I am making up on corner entry and mid-turn, we are setting the bike up now so that it is working smoother so I can do that each time and do it more consistently, so we have just got to keep chipping away, keep making some positive changes to the bike then we should be right.”

Phillis only received a call-up to the Italian Team Lorini squad last Friday, and his teammate will be veteran Roberto Rolfo who was seventh fastest today while Phillis finished the day with the 20th fastest time ahead of Briton Clarke, while Lambert rounded out the 22-rider session.

Glenn Scott is the fourth Australian in the field and is using the test to familiarise himself with the AARK Racing Honda CBR600RR he will campaign throughout the whole 2015 World Supersport Championship season. A last minute deal catapulted Scott from the ranks of the Australasian Superbike Championship to World Supersport and this week’s two-day test is vital preparation for the NSW rider who finished the first day 19th quickest.

There will be another two sessions tomorrow for the world supersport field, starting at 11:20am and 3:40pm respectively.

WSS Test Day One Combined Sessions

  1. Sofuoglu – Kawasaki – 1m33.734
  2. Cluzel – MV Agusta – 1m34.012
  3. Zanetti -MV Aguasta – 1m34.431
  4. Jacobsen – Kawasaki – 1m34.946
  5. Rea – Honda – 1m35.041
  6. Wagner – Yamaha – 1m35.055
  7. Rolfo – Honda – 1m35.143
  8. Faccani – Kawasaki – 1m35.195
  9. Russo – Honda – 1m35.377
  10. Smith – Honda – 1m35.561
  11. Baldolini – MV Agusta – 1m35.815
  12. Mahias – Kawasaki – 1m35.838
  13. Wahr – Honda – 1m36.360
  14. Schmitter – Kawasaki – 1m36.394
  15. Wilairot – Honda – 1m36.421
  16. Menghi – Yamaha – 1m36.481
  17. Cardenas – Honda – 1m36.497
  18. Gamarino – Kawasaki –  1m36.615
  19. Scott – Honda – 1m37.739
  20. Phillis – Honda – 1m38.154
  21. Clarke – Honda – 1m39.536
  22. Lambert – Triumph – 1m41.584