Phillip Island, Australia
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.
Press releases from some of the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
While overall times were not as quick as the morning's session, rookie Jordi Torres was quickest, with his Red Devils Aprilia teammate Leon Haslam under a quarter of a second behind him. The morning's quicker times still keep the top three qualifiers at Lowes, Torres and Sykes.
Troy Bayliss put in sixteen laps, but didn't improve his position by much.
Jules Cluzel ended the day quickest, ahead of Gino Rea, returning to World Supersport after a couple of years in Moto2. Kenan Sofuoglu managed the third quickest lap, although not as fast as his morning's time. Kyle Smith in fourth continues his excellent debut weekend.
Alex Lowes, strong throughout last week's testing at Philip Island on the Suzuki GSXR-1000, opened with an early fast time and stayed at the top of the sheets throughout the rest of the session. Jordi Torres, a class rookie on an Aprilia RSV4, was second-quickest, recording consistent fast laps throughout the opening session.
Kawasaki ZX-10R rider Tom Sykes, 2013 champion and last year's runner up, ended the session third quickest, fending off Leon Haslam on the Aprilia and his new Kawasaki teammate Jonathan Rea. Reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli, having switched to the Honda CBR1000RR with the number one plate, finished thirteenth, behind his teammate Michael van der Mark.
This weekend's special guest star, three-time World Superbike champion, British Superbike champion and MotoGP race winner, Troy Bayliss, managed only three laps, ending the session just over three seconds off Lowes's pace-setting lap. The Australian was sitting in on the Ducati Panigale for Davide Giugliano who was injured during testing.
Kenan Sofuoglu and Jules Cluzel open 2015 ahead of class rookie and former Superstock rider Kyle Smith.
Press release previews from the series organizers and from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams ahead of this weekend's season opener at Phillip Island:
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Where does the British Grand Prix belong?
Where should the British Grand Prix have its home? What we are looking for is a circuit that tests the mettle of the riders as much as the metal of the motorcycle. There would be only three on my list: Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Silverstone.
To my mind, racetracks should have some primal scream to them; they should be more than mere technical exercise. On the current calendar – outside Britain – that means Brno, Mugello, Phillip Island and possibly Sepang; four circuits from 17 foreign venues.
Troy Bayliss is to swing his leg over a World Superbike Ducati again. Ducati today shocked fans and media by announcing that the three-time WSBK champion is to take the place of the injured Davide Giugliano, who is out for three months after injuring two vertebrae in a crash during testing. Currently, Bayliss will only replace Giugliano at Phillip Island, with Ducati test rider Michele Pirro pencilled in for the remaining races the Italian is likely to miss.
The decision to replace Giugliano with Bayliss came at the request of the Australian himself. In a press release, Ducati said that Bayliss had asked the factory to be allowed to race as a wildcard at Phillip Island, and when injury forced Giugliano out, Ducati were happy to agree to his request. The factory had not originally planned to replace the injured Italian, as test rider Michele Pirro is due to start the second MotoGP test at Sepang on Monday, taking the Desmosedici GP15 out for its first full laps on a proper race track. That currently has a higher priority than replacing Giugliano, so Bayliss' offer was serendipitous.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the final test ahead of this weekend's season opener at Phillip Island: