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.
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.
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:
Almost without realizing it, we find ourselves in the midst of a glut of motorcycle racing action. For 11 days, bikes and teams are testing, racing, and being introduced to the public at large. On Monday and Tuesday, the World Superbike teams had their last test of the pre-season at Phillip Island. From Tuesday to Thursday, the Moto2 and Moto3 teams are testing at Jerez. On Friday, the 2015 World Superbike season gets underway Phillip Island, culminating in the races on Sunday, featuring shock substitute Troy Bayliss. Then, from Monday, MotoGP returns for three days of testing at Sepang, followed by an extra day with Michelin tires, with the factory riders at the helm.
In between, we have seen the launch of the Ducati Desmosedici GP15, the CWM LCR Honda team is set to be launched on Wednesday, and there is even a presentation here in Holland by Eurosport, in which they will reveal their plans for MotoGP coverage in The Netherlands for 2015. There is so much going on that there are barely enough hours in the day to actually write about it. Enjoy the cornucopia while you can.
Crash! Bang! Wallop!
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:
Press releases from some of the teams after the first day of testing at Phillip Island:
Before the 2015 World Superbike season gets underway, just seven days from now at Phillip Island, the WSBK and WSS riders get a final chance to prepare their bikes for the flag drops next Sunday. For the first time this year, all of the riders and bikes will be on track at the same time, and we will get a hint of the season to come.
As intriguing as it is likely to be, a note of caution should be sounded. Phillip Island is arguably the best track in the world for motorcycle racing, but all the reasons that make it such a great track for racing mean it is very far from being a very good yardstick to measure performance by. The track flows beautifully, a succession of high-speed corners demanding the utmost of the skill and courage of the rider.
But precisely because it flows, it levels the playing field a little. Bikes with less outright top speed, or which are down on horsepower and acceleration, can go just as fast as a bike which is a rocket ship out of corners. A brave rider can carry more corner speed through the turn and drive smoothly out, ending up just as fast as the rider on the quicker bike.
Press releases from Suzuki and Althea Ducati ahead of the World Superbike test on Monday and Tuesday at Phillip Island:
Final pre-season test beckons for Crescent Suzuki WSBK
Crescent Suzuki has completed its final technical preparations at its base ahead of the Superbike World Championship pre-season tests at Phillip Island in Australia next week.
21 freight cases, two flights and 17,000kms are all that stand between the UK-based team and the start of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship season, and racers Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet are eager to get down to business aboard their Yoshimura-powered GSX-Rs.
Located 130kms south of Victoria's capital city Melbourne, the 4,445m Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit has held both the official pre-season test and the opening round of WSBK competition for the past seven years, remaining a favourite for most championship participants. The circuit's 12 iconic corners, and cliff-top vistas over the Bass Strait, provide breath-taking racing and views for the avid fans while the combination of high-speed turns, long straights, elevation changes and its fast and flowing nature create perfect testing conditions for the GSX-R1000.
The World Superbike calendar has been reduced to 13 events. The Russian round of WSBK, scheduled to be held at the Moscow Raceway on 5th July has been canceled, after the event organizer, YMS Promotion, failed to provide the contract guarantees required by the contract. As a further consequence, the Yakhnich Motorsport Team have also lost their slot on the 2015 World Supersport grid, which was tied in with the Russian round.
The cancellation of the Russian round did not come as a surprise. The Russian WSBK round is a legacy of the last years of Infront running the series. Infront and YMS signed a ten-year deal to organize a World Superbike round in Russia, but continuing political instability in Russia, tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine, and murky regional politics have made it impossible to stage a race there. The round was placed on the calendar automatically, because of the existing contract, but it was never expected to actually take place.
The Russian round of World Superbikes will not be replaced. Instead, the series will run 13 rounds in 2015. Below is the press release and updated 2015 WSBK calendar.
2015 WSBK Calendar update
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup
2015 calendar, 11 February