Press releases from the World Superbike teams after the private test at Phillip Island:
TEAM ALTHEA RACING SATISFIED WITH THE RESULTS OF FIRST SBK TESTS OF 2012 SEASON AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Phillip Island (Australia), Wednesday 15th February 2012: the first of two February testing sessions concluded today at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island with extremely positive results for the Althea Racing team. Carlos Checa, 2011 World Champion, recorded the fastest overall times while ‘new-entry' Davide Giugliano made consistent progress throughout the three-day test.
The Althea Racing team got back to work on Monday as these, the first tests of 2012, commenced at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island in warm, sunny conditions. On day one of testing, Carlos Checa immediately set the bar, recording some of the fastest times of the session. His new team-mate for the 2012 racing season, Davide Giugliano, was getting to grips with what is for him a new circuit when he unfortunately took a fall but was unhurt and able to continue with the work schedule.
Both riders continued to make good progress into the second day, although Carlos sat out the morning's session as a result of illness. During the afternoon, the Spaniard and his technicians were able to complete a large part of the planned work and Checa was pleased to find a good solution as far as front suspension is concerned. The times of most riders dropped throughout the day but it was Carlos out in front once more, with a best time of 1m32.1. Davide continued to build up confidence with both his Ducati 1198 and the Australian track, recording a best of 1m33.7.
Today was the third and final day of testing and, on a track even hotter than yesterday, the Althea riders worked hard until the session's close. Checa was pleased to be able to repeat yesterday's performance, putting in a 1m31.8, the fastest lap of the whole session. Giugliano continued to improve; the young Italian worked together with his team to refine the set-up of his Ducati 1198, also finding time to test a new fork.
"We lost time yesterday because I was unwell; I stayed in bed for most of the morning and only went out on track from about 2.30pm. Despite that setback, we still got most of the work done luckily. Today was even hotter and we tried different things but it seems hard to make further improvements when we already feel like we're at the limit. We started the season well here last year so we've compared last year's set-up to this year's, considering the extra 6kg, and we understand the direction to take. We'll continue with the work on Monday, concentrating mainly on the tyres and their behavior in these hot conditions but for now I can say I'm satisfied."
"All in all it's gone well seeing as it's the first time I'm seeing the Phillip Island track. I think we can be happy with the work completed over the three days, though there's still a lot to do next week! Everything went more or less to plan, apart from a crash on day one but, thanks to my team that has worked hard to set the bike up to suit my riding style, I was able to build confidence and I am feeling more positive as a result. Now we can rest up for a couple of days before turning our minds to the next round of tests."
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing:
"Considering that this has been a long and tiring test session, with very high track temperatures, I think we can be satisfied with the results. We were mainly checking the bike's set up and behavior in light of the extra six kilos. It's clear that on this track Carlos is able to set some very fast times but this wasn't our main focus here. We've worked hard and I think it has paid off as we have a strong set-up and feel ready for the off. We of course have a significant disadvantage with the extra weight on board, and we've already seen here that riders like Laverty, Haslam, Biaggi and Sykes are strong, but we are confident in Carlos' abilities. As far as Davide is concerned, and bearing in mind that it's always difficult for a rider with a new bike at a new track, I believe that he has good pace and is definitely moving in the right direction. We concentrated on making him comfortable and giving him confidence with the bike and he made constant progress. The whole team is more united than ever and we'll continue with our work programme next Monday."
UNOFFICIAL TIMES (third day): Carlos Checa 1m31.8, Davide Giugliano 1m33.5
Winter testing - Phillip Island. 13th to 15th February 2012.
Phillip Island, 15th February 2012. The time for waiting is over: From 13th to 15th February most of the teams competing in the FIM Superbike World Championship tested at Phillip Island (AUS). It was the first battle on track in 2012 for the teams. During the private test, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport continued its preparation for the 2012 season after having tested on Spanish soil in Valencia at the end of January. Factory riders, Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR), completed a total of 1,954 kilometres of testing on the 2012 race version of the RR. The weather was mostly sunny and warm. The air temperature reached 32 degrees Celsius, the track temperature 54 degrees Celsius.
While during the test in Valencia Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport focused on verifying the latest developments it has made over the winter, in Phillip Island the team worked on the set-up of Leon's and Marco's S 1000 RRs. The crews worked on several chassis set-ups mainly in order to achieve performance and consistency. On top of this, the team worked on the engine management, setting up torque delivery and engine brake for the characteristics of the Phillip Island circuit.
The team has drawn a positive conclusion from the test. Both crews were able to evaluate important set-up changes that are not possible to be tested over the course of a race weekend. On the chassis side, the team found a rear end set-up that it will use for the race. Leon has already achieved a quite stable base set-up. During the official Infront test on Monday and Tuesday he will focus on race performance and do the fine tuning. Marco is still investigating the complete range of setting up the RR before concentrating on race performance.
The team's technicians will now evaluate the data collected over the last three days and prepare for the official Infront test.
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR, best overall lap time: 1:33.0 min
"We have worked hard in many directions on this test. The first day was pretty successful and we had a good base to work with. But unfortunately we were struggling to make more steps forward. We still have some issues with the front of the bike, which we tried to solve by making some changes. I still need to get more confidence in the front of the bike. When it was hot, it became more difficult for me. But anyway - we need to be fast in every condition. Unfortunately we also lost three hours on the last day, when I crashed and we had to rebuild the bike. But now we have the time to analyse the information we collected and try to improve the bike at the next test. We still have two more days of testing before we go into the first race weekend, and I hope we are going to have good weather then."
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR, best overall lap time: 1:32.2 min
"The test has been good and really quite positive. It was nice to be back on the bike in warm weather. We have come here with the base set-up of our new bike from Valencia, and it worked pretty much straight away. Over the three days we had time to figure out the base set-up of the new bike, and to find the settings for this specific track, as we are racing here next week. Of course it is important to go fast around here, but it is also about exploring a little bit so you can make big steps in both directions to be able to understand what the bike is doing. I think we learned quite a lot. Also we had time to work on electronic strategies and we improved them a fair bit. The lap times were pretty good, we improved the consistency and were just trying a set-up in both cooler and hot conditions, which is quite important around here."
Sykes Flies As New Season Gets Ever Closer
Newsflash, 15 February 2012
Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes enjoyed three days of good weather during their unofficial tests at Phillip Island, with Sykes frequently heading up the time sheets against his many competitors.
On his Ninja ZX-10R Sykes was fastest on day one, then went second fastest on day two and on a race tyre setting he was only a tenth of a second off reigning champion, Carlos Checa, on the final day.
Sykes was particularly satisfied that the bike's base settings, which he has been perfecting over a few winter tests sessions, worked at a warm Phillip Island with only minor tweaks and adjustments as the temperatures changed. Today was the hottest of the three, but track action was interrupted many times during this test in general, because of crashes and several forms of wildlife that strayed onto the track quite frequently.
Joan used the fact that this is an unofficial test to run two bikes, each with its own distinct set-up philosophy, in his efforts to find a final base setting to start the season with. He improved his best lap time today and jumped into the top five in the final combined time sheets.
For both Tom and Joan two more days of testing remain before qualifying begins. These final two days will give both the chance to evaluate the race tyres that official tyre supplier Pirelli have brought for the PI race weekend. That factor alone makes it an important two days of testing, which will take place between 20th and 21st February.
Tom Sykes: "Day three went pretty well. We tried out a lot of things again, in the hot conditions this time. We had good consistency and found a bit of a better bike balance for me. Through all our tests we have explored a lot of areas, gathered a lot of information, but finally it looks like our base setting from winter testing is pretty good. This is the third or fourth race circuit, in a wide range of temperatures, that it has worked at. We did some fine-tuning and managed our lap times quite well. It is difficult to see exactly where our competitors are at in terms of set-up but ultimately we have had a successful test and have set ourselves up nicely for the official tests next week. Hopefully we will have two days of decent weather and that will prepare us for the beginning of the season."
Joan Lascorz: "I have not decided my final settings and I need to test more at the sessions next week. We have two days to make a decision in which direction to go. I have two basic bike set-ups, both work well, but they are very different. One gives us a longer bike and one a shorter bike, so I need to make the decision which way to go. We only get to use the real race tyres at the official tests, not this test, to help me make the final decision. We have two more days on track next week and they will be very important."
BROOKES JOINS CAMIER FOR WSB TEST
Team Suzuki Press Office - February 15.
Josh Brookes joined Leon Camier and the Crescent Fixi Suzuki team for this week's WSB test at Phillip Island in Australia, replacing John Hopkins who crashed and broke his hand on Monday.
And it is likely the Tyco Suzuki BSB rider will be stand-in for the American at next week's official WSB test and opening round of the World Championship at the venue if Hopkins is deemed unfit to ride.
Both riders ended the three-day test on a positive note after intensive back-to-back testing of the 2011 and new 2012 GSX-R1000s with the team coming away valuable technical data.
"We started these tests with the same bike we used in the Portimao tests last November and then flipped between the 2011 and 2012 bikes on day two. We had a few electrical issues on the second day, but resolved them in time for the last day, which was the first time we've been able to make many changes we wanted to do; and I'm happy because we were able to progress a lot.
"There's definitely room for improvement and that is very encouraging. I feel comfortable on the bike and I like the character of the engine a lot. The track temperature has been very hot at times and that affects how the tyres work. This place is all about grip and trying to manage your tyres in a race and you've got to have a good bike set up here if you want to lap fast.
"On the final afternoon, we tried a few different things; some worked and some didn't, but it has given us a lot of good information we can use next time out. Generally I am pretty happy. I think we're improving and, for me, the big positive is that I have been able to put in good lap times today and that makes me look forward to the official tests next Monday and Tuesday."
"It's been more difficult than I thought because the set up of John's bike is very different to what I am used to. It's not easy just rocking up and riding somebody else's bike and I started by trying to use John's settings. They didn't work for me, so we started to make changes and were getting there by the end of the day. I am pretty confident about the front end, but not so happy with the rear yet. That's been the biggest problem today, but all the things we've tried will stand us in good stead in the tests next week."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"The team had done a massive amount of work before we arrived here, so it was a shame that the tests didn't start well. We knew that we'd have lots to sort out, so losing John so early was a bit of a blow. Leon started with the 2011 suspension and the bike from Portimao and then we gradually introduced new parts. By day three, he was running two 2012-spec bikes and looking pretty comfortable. I'm pleased with the performance of Yoshimura engines and everything is looking very positive.
"I am pleased with our work over the three days because we have definitely made progress and are heading in the right direction. Of course, we're a bit behind the game on John's side of the garage, because he didn't get a chance to try out all the new parts, but he's already got a good base-setting and so I don't see any problems when he gets back on the bike.
"With John out of action, we decided we wanted a high-calibre rider to help out so we contacted Josh Brookes. Luckily he was able to come down and join us for the third day of the tests. He was an obvious choice - as he rides a GSX-R1000 in BSB and so is part of the Suzuki family. We're grateful to him for coming down at short notice and to Phillip Neil at TAS Suzuki for allowing Josh to join our team.
"It is unlikely that John will be fit enough to ride next week so, if that is the case, Josh will take part in the official tests and the races. He certainly knows his way round this place and I think it's good for Suzuki, our sponsors and the fans that we have two riders out there for the first round of the Championship."
Phillip Island Test Image Gallery: IMAGE GALLERY LINK
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