Phillip Island Test Day 1 WSBK Overall: Checa Surprises The Favorites

The first day of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island was a chance for Ducati to stamp their authority on the series they have so often dominated. The Italian factory tackled this challenge with gusto, putting five bikes in the top six of the morning test session, and taking three of the four top spots in the afternoon. It was not the factory bikes that took top honors, however: In the morning session, Xerox Ducati riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio had to cede that honor the the Alstare Suzuki of Leon Haslam, while in the afternoon, it was the turn of the privateer Carlos Checa on the Althea Racing 1098R, edging the factory bikes into 2nd and 4th.

Checa's time in the afternoon was extremely impressive, just over a tenth off Troy Corser's official lap record, and nearly four tenths of a second faster than the next fastest man Fabrizio. Leon Haslam is continuing his apparently trouble-free transition to the Suzuki GSX-R 1000, claiming a permanent spot at the top of the field, though the Englishman was half a second slower during the afternoon session. The two Xerox Ducati teammates are once again closely matched, raising the specter of a repeat of last year, when Fabrizio stole valuable points from Noriyuki Haga in the Japanese rider's failed attempt to conquer the 2009 WSBK title.

Johnny Rea and Max Neukirchner are the first of the Honda riders, the Ulsterman securing the 5th fastest time while his German teammate improved his preseason form to finish the first day in 7th. Max Biaggi was the first of the Aprilias, now decked out in the rather attractive Alitalia colors, but the Italian was not entirely satisfied with an 8th place, complaining of chatter in the braking zones which was unsettling the bike. His teammate, who utterly dominated British Superbikes last season, is struggling on the RSV4, finishing the day a lowly 20th.

James Toseland won the battle of the all-new Sterilgarda Yamaha teammates, finishing 11th, four places ahead of Cal Crutchlow in 15th, and setting a time three tenths quicker. Crutchlow had a minor crash in the afternoon, but escaped unhurt. Tom Sykes was the fastest of the Kawasakis, beating his Australian teammate Chris Vermeulen by over four tenths, while Roger Lee Hayden is still struggling to find his feet in the World Superbike class, finishing the day in last place about four seconds off the pace. In the BMW camp, it was Troy Corser who led the way, setting the 14th fastest time two places ahead of teammate Ruben Xaus and four places ahead of Reitwagen BMW's Andrew Pitt.

Overall results of the first day of testing at Phillip Island for the World Superbike class: 

Pos. No. Rider Country Bike Time Diff Diff previous
1 7 C. Checa ESP Ducati 1098R 1'31.959 0.000  
2 84 M. Fabrizio ITA Ducati 1098R 1'32.349 0.390 0.390
3 91 L. Haslam GBR Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.484 0.525 0.135
4 41 N. Haga JPN Ducati 1098R 1'32.518 0.559 0.034
5 65 J. Rea GBR Honda CBR1000RR 1'32.544 0.585 0.026
6 67 S. Byrne GBR Ducati 1098R 1'32.671 0.712 0.127
7 76 M. Neukirchner GER Honda CBR1000RR 1'32.735 0.776 0.064
8 3 M. Biaggi ITA Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1'32.832 0.873 0.097
9 96 J. Smrz CZE Ducati 1098R 1'32.912 0.953 0.080
10 57 L. Lanzi ITA Ducati 1098R 1'32.979 1.020 0.067
11 52 J. Toseland GBR Yamaha YZF R1 1'33.135 1.176 0.156
12 50 S. Guintoli FRA Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'33.190 1.231 0.055
13 66 T. Sykes GBR Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'33.222 1.263 0.032
14 11 T. Corser AUS BMW S1000 RR 1'33.299 1.340 0.077
15 35 C. Crutchlow GBR Yamaha YZF R1 1'33.444 1.485 0.145
16 111 R. Xaus ESP BMW S1000 RR 1'33.498 1.539 0.054
17 77 C. Vermeulen AUS Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'33.648 1.689 0.150
18 88 A. Pitt AUS BMW S1000 RR 1'33.699 1.740 0.051
19 25 J. Brookes AUS Honda CBR1000RR 1'33.710 1.751 0.011
20 2 L. Camier GBR Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1'33.852 1.893 0.142
21 123 R. Resch AUT BMW S1000 RR 1'34.361 2.402 0.509
22 31 V. Iannuzzo ITA Honda CBR1000RR 1'35.260 3.301 0.899
23 15 M. Baiocco ITA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'36.087 4.128 0.827
24 95 R. Hayden USA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'36.155 4.196 0.068

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