Phillip Island, Australia
It has been a busy week for racing, with the World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island followed by the MotoGP test at Sepang, including the extra day of testing on Michelins. There has been a lot of news, but between MotoMatters.com's star WSBK reporter Jared Earle and I, we got most of it covered, with an extra bonus of photos from top Australian shooter Andrew Gosling.
But there have been one or two things we may have missed, so here's our weekly round up of racing news.
Scratching the itch: Young Gun vs Old Master
There were a lot of happy faces at the Australian round of World Superbikes. Troy Bayliss, three-time World Superbike champion and arguably, WSBK's last superstar, made a return to the series, replacing the injured Davide Giugliano on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale. The replacement was at very short notice, Giugliano having crashed during the test which preceded the opening round and fractured a couple of vertebrae.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the thrilling opening races at Phillip Island:
Rain was showing south of the track, but luckily it didn't get close to the track and left the riders to get on with twenty two more laps of close racing.
Eighteen uninterrupted laps under light cloud cover offering excellent conditions for racing.
With a high track temperature, managing tyre life was assumed to be the way to win the race, offering a potentially pedestrian race. Luckily, the tyres performed perfectly well and we got an exciting, close race instead.
Press releases from the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after qualifying at Phillip Island:
After incidents in World Superbike qualifying, the start to qualifying was pushed back an hour.
With no Evo class for 2015, an easily predicted division between Superpoles one and two isn't as clear-cut as it was last year. The weather was warm and clear and the track was hot, but red flags affected both sessions.
In the untimed session before Superpole, Michael van der Mark was quicker than Tom Sykes by a hundredth of a second. Leon Haslam was not far behind and Alex Lowes was within two tenths of van der Mark.
Jules Cluzel was one thousandth of a second slower than his best time from yesterday but was still quickest ahead of Kyle Smith who was unable to beat Kenan Sofuoglu's best Friday lap.
Gino Rea continues to perform well in his return to the series with the third fastest lap, quicker than Lorenzo Zanetti and Kenan Sofuoglu.
Leon Haslam was the quicker of the two Aprilias with Jordi Torres settling for second-best. Jonathan Rea was third quickest, but his time didn't yesterday's fastest from Alex Lowes.
Troy Bayliss continues to keep his promise of taking it easy in free practice with the sixteenth quickest time today, seventeenth overall, improving his time each session so far. Gábor Rizmayer did not take part in this session as yesterday's crash ruled him out for the weekend.