Ten Kate Honda's Broc Parkes sits on provisional pole after the first day of practice for the World Supersport class at the Australian's home round at Phillip Island. Parkes took control in the early part of the session, but as the first qualifying practice started to wind down, Sam Lowes, Jules Cluzel and Fabien Foret did what they could to make life uncomfortable for Parkes.
Carlos Checa started the defense of his 2011 World Superbike title as he meant to continue, taking control of the first session of free practice for the 2012 season opener just over 10 minutes in and never relinquishing the position again. Max Biaggi confirmed that he is still in excellent shape, finishing just under two tenths behind the Althea Ducati, while the Aprilia man had another Ducati behind him, this time the Effenbert Liberty bike of Jakub Smrz. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes ended the first day half a second from Checa in 4th spot, while Honda's Johnny Rea took 5th.
Below is the official press release supplied by Ducati Corse after the Test Team completed its work at Jerez, alongside the CRT teams:
Ducati Test Team completes test in Jerez, Spain
The Ducati Test Team finished a three-day test today at Spain’s Circuito de Jerez. As usual, the activities were led by Filippo Preziosi, who followed the work schedule carried out by official test rider Franco Battaini.
The final day of testing at Jerez for the CRT machines saw them claim their place as fully-fledged MotoGP machines. Randy de Puniet ended the day as the fastest of the Aprilia ART machines, finishing with a best time of 1:40.3, just three tenths behind Hector Barbera on the satellite Ducati - still basically the GP Zero which was tested at Valencia, and developed over the winter - and perhaps more significantly, right around the pace the satellite bikes were setting at Jerez in 2011, at just the bike's third test.
Marc Marquez' recuperation is proceeding apace, but he is still not at 100%. That is what the Spaniard told a press conference today at the presentation of one of his personal sponsors, Garmin, the manufacturer of navigation equipment. Though his vision is still improving, he is still not fully fit and is uncertain of being fit in time for his planned return on March 7th in a private test at Portimao, and even his appearance in the season opener in Qatar a month later is not absolutely certain.
Testing continued for the MotoGP CRT machines at Jerez on Tuesday under blue skies and balmy temperatures, but despite ideal conditions, the track offered much less grip than it did on Monday. The tricky conditions saw a number of crashes during the day, with Aleix Espargaro going down twice, Danilo Petrucci crashing once and Karel Abraham crashing the satellite Ducati he was testing, stating afterwards that he thought there could be oil on the track.
WSBK is looking east for its future. Today, Infront Motor Sports, the organization that runs the World Superbike series, announced that the Sentul International Circuit will host a WSBK round from 2013 onwards. The deal, backed by the Indonesian government, will see the series race in Indonesia for the next five years, as part of a push to promote the World Superbike series in the crucial markets of Southeast Asia.
Press releases from Infront, and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the two-day test at Phillip Island:
TEAM ALTHEA RACING CONCLUDES OFFICIAL TESTING AT PHILLIP ISLAND AND IS READY FOR THE OPENING RACE OF THE 2012 SBK SEASON!
Tom Sykes took top honors on the second day of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island, the Yorkshireman just nipping ahead of Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa in the early stages of the morning session to set the fastest lap of the two-day test. Though Checa was fastest again in the afternoon session, the 2011 World Champion could not get under the time set by Sykes, falling just four thousandths short.
Broc Parkes leaves the Phillip Island World Supersport test on top of the timesheets. The Ten Kate Honda rider set the fastest time in the last session of the final test ahead of the WSS season opener at Phillip Island, which kicks off on Friday, just edging the Kawasakis of Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret, who had been fastest on Monday.
The Repsol Honda MotoGP team has a small army of press officers working for them. In addition to the PR person assigned to each rider, as is common for all of the factory MotoGP riders, Honda also has PR people from Spanish petroleum sponsor Repsol, as well as their Honda Pro Racing arm, aimed at providing press information for all of the Japanese giant's racing activities.
Preseason testing is almost on a round-the-clock schedule at the moment: after the World Superbike machines were rolled off the track and into the garages at the end of day 1 of the official WSBK test, garage doors at Jerez, on the other side of the world, were flung open, and the MotoGP CRT teams rolled onto the track for the first day of a three-day test at the Spanish circuit.
Press releases from Infront and the World Superbike and World Superport teams after the first day of testing at Phillip Island:
Checa pushes on to head up the timesheets
Phillip Island (Australia), Monday 20 February 2012: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) held off the charge of his old rivals Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) in today’s two official test sessions at Phillip Island.
Less than a week after the private test concluded at the Phillip Island circuit, the World Superbike riders were back in action again on Monday, for the first day of the official preseason test ahead of this weekend's WSBK season opener. Carlos Checa picked up where he left off, topping the timesheets in both the morning and afternoon sessions, and immediately within a tenth of a second of the fastest time the Althea Ducati rider set here last week.