If there was any doubt that Ducati has set its sights on reclaiming the 2010 World Superbike title, then the last test of the preseason before racing starts in earnest will have put those doubts to rest. After allowing Leon Haslam and Suzuki top honors in the first session on Sunday, a Ducati has topped the timesheet ever since, ending the session with five bikes in the top six. Fastest over both days was Michel Fabrizio, the factory Xerox Ducati rider shattering Troy Corser's race lap record on Monday morning, after the track had dried and before the wind picked up too strongly.
Photo copyright Andrew Gosling
Fabrizio's lead, however, was minimal. Both Shane Byrne and Jakub Smrz were less than two hundredths of a second behind the Italian, with Byrne's Althea Ducati teammate Carlos Checa a quarter of a second behind Smrz. Odd man out among the Ducati riders was, surprisingly enough, Noriyuki Haga, who had spent the final day of testing working on suspension setup and finished in 6th position, six tenths behind his teammate Fabrizio.
Johnny Rea was the fastest of the four cylinders, the Ten Kate Honda rider ending the test in 5th position behind the gaggle of Ducatis. Fellow Briton Leon Haslam was 7th quickest on the Suzuki, ahead of the Aprilia pairing of Max Biaggi and Leon Camier. Camier's improvement on the second day was a welcome improvement for the reigning BSB champion, as he had ended the first day way down in 20th.
Ruben Xaus was the first of the BMWs, ending the test in 11th spot, two spots ahead of his teammate Troy Corser, but the fact that the S1000RRs are stuck in around the same position they finished last year must be worrying for the team's new manager Davide Tardozzi. But the BMW seems to be in better shape than the Yamaha. So far, the 2009 World Superbike title seems to have been more down to Ben Spies than to the YZR R1, with both James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow suffering with chatter. With a 12th and a 17th place, the Sterilgarda Yamaha team still has plenty to do.
As does the Kawasaki Racing Team. Chris Vermeulen ended the test as best of the Kawasakis, a lowly 16th place at his home track, and two spots ahead of his teammate Tom Sykes. Kawasaki is focusing its resources on the World Superbike series this year, and so far it seems that this focus has paid off mostly in the World Supersport class, where Joan Lascorz is consistently quick. Kawasaki may have to wait until the new ZX 10R is released, rumored to be using a big bang firing order, if they are to run at the front in WSBK again.
With testing now concluded, the teams have a couple of days' rest before reconvening at Phillip Island for the season opener next weekend. The wind which troubled Monday's afternoon session is abating, but the prospects for next weekend are not good. A rain front is predicted to hit the Island's coastline on Saturday, growing in intensity over the weekend and beyond. The 2010 World Superbike season could get off to a very damp start indeed.
Overall results from two days of testing at Phillip Island for the World Superbike class:
|1||84||M. Fabrizio||ITA||Ducati 1098R||1'31.650||0.000|
|2||67||S. Byrne||GBR||Ducati 1098R||1'31.662||0.012||0.012|
|3||96||J. Smrz||CZE||Ducati 1098R||1'31.680||0.030||0.018|
|4||7||C. Checa||ESP||Ducati 1098R||1'31.959||0.309||0.279|
|5||65||J. Rea||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||1'32.175||0.525||0.216|
|6||41||N. Haga||JPN||Ducati 1098R||1'32.247||0.597||0.072|
|7||91||L. Haslam||GBR||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1'32.279||0.629||0.032|
|8||3||M. Biaggi||ITA||Aprilia RSV4 1000 F.||1'32.474||0.824||0.195|
|9||2||L. Camier||GBR||Aprilia RSV4 1000 F.||1'32.621||0.971||0.147|
|10||76||M. Neukirchner||GER||Honda CBR1000RR||1'32.691||1.041||0.070|
|11||111||R. Xaus||ESP||BMW S1000 RR||1'32.714||1.064||0.023|
|12||52||J. Toseland||GBR||Yamaha YZF R1||1'32.781||1.131||0.067|
|13||11||T. Corser||AUS||BMW S1000 RR||1'32.819||1.169||0.038|
|14||57||L. Lanzi||ITA||Ducati 1098R||1'32.830||1.180||0.011|
|15||50||S. Guintoli||FRA||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1'32.869||1.219||0.039|
|16||77||C. Vermeulen||AUS||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'32.870||1.220||0.001|
|17||35||C. Crutchlow||GBR||Yamaha YZF R1||1'32.880||1.230||0.010|
|18||66||T. Sykes||GBR||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'33.202||1.552||0.322|
|19||88||A. Pitt||AUS||BMW S1000 RR||1'33.699||2.049||0.497|
|20||25||J. Brookes||AUS||Honda CBR1000RR||1'33.710||2.060||0.011|
|21||123||R. Resch||AUT||BMW S1000 RR||1'33.943||2.293||0.233|
|22||31||V. Iannuzzo||ITA||Honda CBR1000RR||1'34.945||3.295||1.002|
|23||15||M. Baiocco||ITA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'35.663||4.013||0.718|
|24||95||R. Hayden||USA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'35.763||4.113||0.100|