2012 Phillip Island Test Day 2 WSBK And WSS Press Releases

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!

Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 21st February 2012: team Althea Racing concluded final testing at Phillip Island this afternoon with some very positive results. The team is satisfied with the programme of work completed and both Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano are ready and prepared for the opening race of the 2012 World Superbike championship, taking place at the same track this coming weekend.

This morning, on a cooler track (28˚C), nearly all of the Superbike riders were able to improve on their best times set yesterday, Carlos and Davide included. While Carlos recorded a best of 1m31.6, which left him in second position overall behind Sykes (a 1m31.6 for him too), Giugliano managed to improve on his personal best by just over a second, to close in seventh place with a fastest lap of 1m32.3.

Later on in the afternoon session, with a track temperature now at 51˚C, the two Althea Racing riders continued with their tyre test, making the most of this final sessions to make final tweaks to their Ducati 1198 bikes. Checa made the quickest lap of the session (1m32.0), though the morning's times were the quickest overall. Both Carlos and Davide maintained good pace on the hot track which augers well for Sunday's races.

The first round of the 2012 championship opens this Friday, when the Superbike riders will be on track for the first practice and first qualifying session of the new season.

Carlos Checa:

"We were able to complete our work programme with some very satisfying results and this is what counts, more than the times. We worked with both the 200 tyres and the 190 tyres and I must say I prefer the setting we have with the 200. I'm feeling happy with the bike and the setting that we have but now we must wait to see how the track conditions, temperature and tyres will be this weekend. We know that this is one of the best tracks for the Ducati and so we want to make the most of this opportunity. I will focus, do my best and we'll see what this can bring us on Sunday."

Davide Giugliano:

"I am pleased with what we got done today. I am gradually getting to grips with my bike and with the new track and today we've seen some more positive results. Testing has gone well, we've tried many different things and the team has worked extremely hard, sharing with me all of their knowledge and experience. I've improved on yesterday's times but the important thing is that we have maintained a good pace, especially in this afternoon's hot conditions. There's still a lot of room for improvement of course but I feel that we've done our best as far as preparation is concerned and I'm feeling fairly confident ahead of this weekend's races."

Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing:

"These two days have been extremely useful, giving us the chance to better understand many things that will help us in our future work. Carlos has impressed us with his times even though we realize that there will be stiff competition as always. We've seen that the extra 6kg are difficult to manage and limit us particularly when it comes to braking and manageability. The extra weight also means that the tyres wear more quickly but we count on Carlos' experience to overcome this significant handicap that the new regulation has given us.

I 'm happy and had no doubts about Davide and the progress he has made. Today he was able to ride with more confidence and his lap times confirm that, even though he's young, he has begun to understand that this is a man's game. His objective, naturally, is to learn all of the tricks of the trade but he will be a strong rival for many. We all have confidence in him and will work hard to give him all the support he needs."


Infront testing - Phillip Island.
20th to 21st February 2012.

Phillip Island, 21st February 2012. On Tuesday Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport finished the final day of pre-season testing at Phillip Island with only Marco Melandri (ITA) riding the RR. Leon Haslam (GBR) left for Melbourne in the morning for further consultation with doctors specialised in professional sports injuries.

Marco Melandri:

Best overall lap time: 1:32.232 (2nd session Monday)

Marco's crew evaluated a different set-up in the morning in order to improve Marco's confidence with the front of the bike. The set-up changes worked pretty well in cool conditions, but not as well as expected when the track temperature rose over the lunch time. The crew also worked on several front and rear damping settings. Marco also compared the new custom created tyre solutions Pirelli brought to Phillip Island in the final hour of the test. Overall, the Infront test was positive, as the team made a step forward in improving Marco's feeling for the front of the bike compared to the previous week's test. There is still a gap to the front runners on both race pace and a single quick lap.

Marco:

"Overall, I am not very happy with the result of the test. Up to now we have not really fixed the vibration at the front. We made a step up yesterday and we have an idea what way to go, but we could not make further improvements today. The changing track conditions didn't help in fixing this issue. Nevertheless, the people here and back home in the factory are very motivated, and they are all working very hard. Thanks to all of them. We knew already before the season that the start in Australia would be tough. I really hope Leon is fit very soon and able to jump back on his bike. All the best to him."

Leon Haslam:

Best overall lap time: 1:32.397 (1st session Monday)

After an initial diagnosis on Monday showed a fracture in Leon's right tibia, further examinations on Tuesday in Melbourne confirmed that he had a fracture and two cracks in his tibia, a crack in his left heel and a small crack in his right little toe. Leon will undergo surgery on Thursday in Melbourne in a specialist clinic, which is well known for fixing sports injuries in the leg and ankle areas. The plan is to insert two screws to fix the tibia fragment in its original place.

The prognosis on what will happen after surgery is not yet known, so a decision as to whether he will compete in this weekend's races will be made later. The team wish Leon all the best for the surgery on Thursday and a quick recovery.

Leon:

"I am a bit frustrated looking at the times everyone was doing today. Last week we had similar conditions and my times would have been good for fighting for the top three places. But that's racing. I am very happy to have found a good surgeon in Melbourne in Dr. Blackney. He will operate on me on Thursday morning and insert two screws to fix my tibia bone. I've got a small crack in the right heel and a small crack in my left little toe. Hopefully I will be back at the track on Thursday afternoon and able to jump on the bike on Friday."


Sykes the man to beat after Phillip Island testing

Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 21 February 2012: Tom Sykes was ultimately the man of the moment in two days of Superbike testing at Phillip Island, the Kawasaki man holding onto the top slot in today's warmer afternoon session that saw only two riders improve. Sykes's time of 1 minute 31.648 seconds remains the benchmark as the riders now gear up for the opening round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship this coming weekend.

Tom Sykes: "We were fast this morning and also this afternoon in hot conditions, improving our time compared to yesterday. Overall we did a bit more testing today and certainly stumbled across a couple of good things, and at the end we did 14 laps on race tyres and it was very consistent, with the times coming easier than they were doing with previous settings. Kawasaki has made a massive effort over the winter period and there is no doubt the latest Ninja ZX-10R racebike has improved a lot from last year's feedback so this year it was only natural to progress."

Second place overall went to 2011 champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati), who ended up just a whisker behind. The Spaniard set the quickest time of the warmer afternoon session and then packed up for the rest of the day.

Carlos Checa: "We finished our job this morning and we just were testing a little bit more to confirm different things, and once I had confirmed that the ‘war' was over. I feel comfortable, finally, with the last settings. We used the large tyre and the small tyre, and we worked out which settings to use for each one, and we just wanted to save the bike and the engine for the weekend, when the conditions will probably be a bit different and we will need to know which tyres will come for the race. Our base set-up is comfortable, this track is good for Ducati and I believe we did a good job from the first test until now."

Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) was third on another Ducati 1098R, not far off the pace of the top 2, while Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike) was the only other rider to get into the 1 minute 32 seconds bracket. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) showed remarkable consistency as he took the fifth slot, while Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad) failed to improve on day 2 and his time set yesterday was good enough for sixth. Superbike rookie Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) crashed harmlessly for the third time in this test but was impressive enough for seventh, while Leon Camier (Crescent Suzuki) completed the top 8.

Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad) will undergo an operation Thursday to have two screws put in his right tibia fracture, then a decision will be taken as to whether or not he can race this weekend.

After five days of testing - private and official - the Superbike teams and riders now have a chance to wind down before opening round action begins on Friday.

Times (Monday-Tuesday): 1.Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'31"648; 2. Checa (Ducati) 1'31"652; 3. Smrz (Ducati) 1'31"800; 4. Rea (Honda) 1'31"913; 5. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'32"034; 6. Melandri (BMW) 1'32"232; 7. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'32"319; 8. Camier (Suzuki) 1'32"320; 9. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'32"347; 10. Haslam (BMW) 1'32"397; 11. Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1'32"540; 12. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'32"605; 13. Canepa (Ducati) 1'32"746; 14. Aoyama (Honda) 1'32"910; 15. Berger (Ducati) 1'32"911; 16. Badovini (BMW) 1'32"948; etc.

Superbike records at Phillip Island

Fastest Lap: Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1'31"826 (2007)

Superpole: Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1'30"882 (2011)

Best Lap: Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1'30"826 (2011)

World Supersport

Australian Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) ended up at the top of the results sheet after two days of World Supersport testing with a time of 1 minute 34.585 seconds. On aggregate over four sessions on Monday and Tuesday Parkes was able to finish ahead of the Kawasakis of Kenan Sofuoglu (Deltafin Lorenzini) and Fabien Foret (Intermoto Step). Britain's Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) also put in a good overall run, after going quickest in the morning session.

The final session saw the red flags come out for Russian rider Vladimir Leonov who suffered a few cuts and bruises to his right elbow and left ankle in a crash but the Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha man will make the race on Sunday.

The championship warm-up threw up a number of surprises. The first was 23-year-old Frenchman Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda), who has moved over from the mid-class GP category this year, and who was fifth quickest. The second was Vittorio Iannuzzo, back up amongst the front-runners once again with sixth quickest time on a three-cylinder Power Team by Suriano Triumph.

Times (Monday-Tuesday): 1. Parkes (Honda) 1'34"585; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'34"604; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'34"866; 4. Lowes (Honda) 1'34"957; 5. Cluzel (Honda) 1'35"131; 6. Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1'35"362; 7. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'35"701; 8. Quarmby (Honda) 1'35"824; etc.

Supersport records at Phillip Island

Fastest Lap: Fabien Foret (Honda) 1'34.941 (168.485 km/h) - 2011

Best Lap: Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1'33.847 (170.512 km/h) - 2010


Sykes And Kawasaki On Top As New Season Dawns

WSBK, Phillip Island, Australia, 21 February 2012

Tom Sykes took his Kawasaki Racing Team machine to top spot on the combined testing sheets at Phillip Island, heading up all his rivals with mere days to go until the start of the new 2012 SBK season.

Like many of his fellow SBK riders Sykes had tested at PI last week, and used that knowledge to help his set fast lap times and set them with a high degree of consistency at this test, in cool or hot track conditions. In the final analysis of the time sheets Sykes set the leading 1'31.648 lap time in the morning session today to stay above Carlos Checa and Jakub Smrz in the rankings.

Joan Lascorz was happy with his race pace on the second official Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R and in setting a personal best of test 1'32.540 lap time he was 11th out of 23 riders on show. The Spanish star is confident he can improve on that when the racing starts for real on Sunday 26th February.

Pedercini Team Kawasaki regular David Salom had a tough test after confirming that he had broken his wrist in a recent test crash, only riding for a short time in each morning session over these two days to save himself for the start of the season proper on Friday 24th, in the first official practice session of the year.

Local star and regular Pedercini Superstock force Bryan Staring rode the other Pedercini Kawasaki Superbike in these tests, as he will in replacing the injured Leandro Mercado for the opening race weekend itself. He finished 20th on the timesheets but knows more is to come in true race trim.

The 14-Round/28-race SBK season kicks off with two races on Sunday 26th February. The 4.445km long Phillip Island circuit is a popular starting point for the season as the race weekend is held in the Australian summer months. So far ambient conditions have varied between mild and firmly hot and a repeat of the recent dry weather would make for a perfect start to the season for all involved.

Tom Sykes: "We were fast this morning and also this afternoon in hot conditions and we even improved our time compared to yesterday's hot track conditions. Overall we did quite a bit more testing today and certainly stumbled across a couple of good things. At the end of the sessions we did 14 laps on race tyres and it was very consistent, with the times coming easier than they were doing with previous settings. Honestly speaking, this is not one of my favourite circuits, in fact it is one of my least favourite ones, so I am happy that we are towards the front at this track because I know that the performance should increase at the other circuits. I do not want to get too carried away because I like to keep my feet on the ground, so we'll keep working and see what happens on race weekend."

Joan Lascorz: "We have a good rhythm but to do faster single laps is a little more difficult. I can put in a new tyre but lap times are the same. I think it is a lot of things together, but every time we try anything else we come back to the same kind of settings. The bike works best in small, slower corners, in the fast corners and over the bumps it feels very hard. It turns very well in the slower corners but the line in the fast corners is critical. The plan for the first practice in Friday is more gas! But seriously, we will make a plan to find out the best settings for race weekend."

Bryan Staring: "I am happy with it in general but I wanted to put in a bit better lap time. Some of the guys have been here testing for three days last week but I was not. The real important day is next Friday. I am happy with the motorbike but we can still improve a couple of small things. It is only on the one flying lap that I have not been able to do so well, but we put in a reasonable time. I think we are in a bit better position than the timesheets suggest. It is a good motorbike and I think we can do a pretty good job with it, I just hope to get a strong lap time out of it on Friday."

David Salom: "The problem is that I have had an pain-killing injection to allow me to ride this morning, but after an hour the pain came back and it was too much. I did not try this afternoon. It is not necessary to try for another good lap time today but save myself for first practice on Friday. For the race I can run with the injections in my wrist but I am not sure how things will be. I hope for the best and aim for the best. After Phillip Island it is possible to have an operation on my wrist but it is not decided yet as I already have a pin inside the scaphoid from an old crash."


Sofuoglu On Fine Form As New Season Approaches At Increasing Pace

WSS, Phillip Island, Australia, 21 February 2012

With only a few days to go until the beginning of the 2012 Supersport World Championship top Kawasaki runners like DeltaFin Lorenzini rider Kenan Sofuoglu have enjoyed good test showings.

Kenan, riding for Kawasaki in WSS for the first time this season, was second quickest after two days of intense track action at Phillip Island in Australia, while sharing track space with the entire field of 2012 riders.

Sofuoglu feels confident that he can shoot for the race win even at the first weekend of the season and he is not the only seasoned campaigner in this class to show strong form even before the first points come up for grabs.

Kawasaki Intermoto Step rider Fabien Foret was third quickest overall while DeltaFin Kawasaki rider Sheridan Morais took some time to learn the secrets of a circuit he had never sees before these tests, and he finally jumped up to an impressive seventh. Kawasaki Team GOELEVEN rider Joshua Day was 20th in the combined times in his rookie WSS test, while Foret's team-mate Romain Lanusse was 23rd.

Now all the WSS competitors look to the opening race of the season, on Sunday 26th February, as the first chance to score points in what is shaping up to be a closely contested championship, with Kawasaki riders looking set to be fighting up front once again.

Kenan Sofuoglu: "It was very good at this test because until this morning I tried many different set-ups and rear shocks, maybe six or seventh different ones, so on the last run we put all the best stuff together in the last half an hour and I gained about seven tenths. That took me to the top of the time sheets right away. Another rider came along and went a little faster but it does not matter as these tests were only about being ready for the race weekend. The bike has the potential to win the race and I have the potential to win the race and I am very hungry to win again. For one and half years I have not won a Supersport race so now it is time to win again."

Sheridan Morais: "We ended up in a good position. I was a bit lost this morning but we reached a point where I had to find set-up and I wanted to go faster but I was not able to this morning. After the first session we sat down and compared my laps with Kenan's and there were three turns where I was losing all my time. Once we had sorted that out I went just over a second quicker than this morning's times. We have worked hard and did about 133 laps, which is a lot. Tyre-wise, I still had two tyres left and I managed to do race distance runs twice, so I am happy for the forthcoming race, in fact I am really looking forward to it."

Fabien Foret: "When you are not first you are never completely satisfied but I have to admit that after a long break from riding and a new bike, new team and everything, it is not too bad. I would have been happy to know that we could have finished testing third and be riding at a reasonable pace. For me speed-wise it is not amazing at the moment but the base is really not too bad and we have two more days of practice before the race which will be useful as we ran out of time at these tests. We have had a pretty positive test so close to the start of the year."


Lowes ends testing at the front

BOGDANKA PTR HONDA'S Sam Lowes was the fastest this morning and the only man under 1 minute 35 seconds before ending the second day of the official World Supersport test at Phillip Island in fourth position and ready for a podium challenge in Sunday's season opening race.

RSA's Mathew Scholtz also made the most of the perfect weather conditions in Australia to complete solid preparation work ahead of his World Supersport debut this weekend, finishing the test in 12th overall after gelling perfectly with his new bike and team.

Bogdanka Honda PTR's Pawel Szkopek put in a great effort to end the test in tenth position, just a second from Sam's time, with his all-Polish team quickly finding the right base setup to suit his style. The first World Supersport race of the season starts on Sunday at 3:15AM CET after practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday.

Sam Lowes: "The test was really good. We tried many things and started the week very well. I had a small crash with 20 minutes to go which set us back a bit but I ended the test in fourth position and I'm feeling really good on the bike so I'm looking forward to the weekend. Our race pace is really good. We've got a few things to put together to challenge for the win on Sunday but I'm confident we can do that."

Mathew Scholtz: "The test went really well for me. We tried a lot of things and I'm really positive ahead of the weekend. On the first day we focused on learning the bike, the circuit and finding the best setup. Today we were fine tuning it and trying different things and step by step we've been making good progress. Phillip Island is very fast and flowing so I really enjoyed these two days and now it's definitely one of my favourite tracks. I want to learn more and go faster over the weekend and be inside the top 12 again in the race itself."

Pawel Szkopek: "I'm really happy to be working with Damian and Marek this year. We speak the same language and Damian really believes in my riding style and feedback which is bearing fruit already. PTR prepared a great bike for us for and during the test we managed to fine tune the settings to suit my style. We changed the geometry a bit to give me more confidence going into the corners, which is something I've been missing a bit last year. That allowed me to go inside the top ten today and it makes me feel really confident ahead of the weekend. We have some more ideas to try on Friday but I'm feeling very good already."


Rea and Aoyama ready for SBK2012

Honda World Superbike Team riders Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama have declared themselves ready for this weekend's (24-26 February) opening round of the 2012 World Superbike championship at Phillip Island in Australia.

The Honda pairing completed a two-day official test at the picturesque 4.448km Phillip Island circuit this afternoon on their 2012 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades, marking the start of a year of 20th anniversary celebrations for Honda's iconic sportsbike.

The test, arranged by championship organiser, InFront Motorsport, was conducted in fine, warm conditions, with track temperatures increasing in the afternoon sessions, as both Honda riders took the opportunity to further test a number of components for their machines, including electronics, chassis and suspension settings and a new swingarm.

The World Superbike paddock will reassemble for the 2012 campaign and the first of 14 rounds this Friday 24 February with the first free practice session scheduled to begin at 11.45am local time. Superpole qualifying will follow on Saturday, with the two 22-lap first-round races on Sunday.

Jonathan Rea - best time 1m31.913s

It's been really good to get out on track with our rivals at this test because during our winter testing - in Qatar in December and here last month - we've been on our own. We're where we kind of expected to be and we know that to win here is going to be a very big task. Carlos [Checa] is riding very well and consistently but we're still changing things on the bike because I'm still not 100% satisfied with the set-up. It's been really good just be on track with the others though, and I'm really enjoying riding bike. I can really feel what the bike's doing and the electronics are working really well. I'm looking forward to a couple of days off now before we go into Friday's sessions. We found a bit of a direction with a harder rear and, although the tyre choice in this test has been clear, the race weekend is going to be different again. We played around with springs towards the end of that final session and I was able to lap OK with a harder spring, even when the tyre was worn. That's a positive and so it's what we'll take into Friday morning and move into the new season from there.

Hiroshi Aoyama - best time 1m32.910s

These two days I have learned a lot more and one thing in particular: that this is a very tough championship! We have been working more on the bike and it's been good to get more laps and try some set up changes. We've found some positive things, especially on corner exit, but other things have not been so good. So we have concentrated on the positive and worked on that to move things forward. At the moment, there is a gap to the top riders, so I hope to catch up a little bit during this first race weekend because I believe there is still some space to improve. It seems that when the conditions and temperatures change here, the feeling with the bike is a little different and, because I don't have so much experience on the bike, this has been a little difficult. It's something that is helped not only by changing the setting - I must adapt, too, and I am learning to do this but I still need some more time. We weren't able to do so many long runs during this test but we have still found out some ways to improve the tyre life here. Now we just need to get a better lap time.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator We've made some steady progress during this test and Jonathan is right there on the pace. It's difficult to make big steps forward with him but, saying that, he's up there with the fast guys and we believe he'll be in a position to fight for the podium in the opening races this weekend. With Hiroshi we believe that we've made progress, and even if the lap time is not spectacular, there has been an improvement on the set-up problems we had with the bike during the test here in January. We're certainly looking forward to going into the race weekend with him. We've still got some steps forward to make with Hiroshi's electronics, too, but we concentrated more on set-up changes during this test. We're more familiar with Jonathan's set-up so his electronics are, of course, quite different. All in all, it's time to go racing and I think we're ready to see the potential that's been shown in all this testing.


Lowes and Cluzel lead the way for PTR in test

BOGDANKA PTR HONDA'S Sam Lowes and PTR Honda's Jules Cluzel finished fourth and fifth overall in the official World Supersport test at Phillip Island in Australia, both of them within touching distance of the fastest lap time.

The opening race of the 13-round 2012 World Supersport Championship takes place at Phillip Island this Sunday, February 26th, with practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday.

Sam (Bogdanka PTR Honda): "To be fair I crashed at the end and lost my chance at a fast lap. I made a small mistake, hit bumps and lost the front but thankfully I am unhurt. My ideal lap time is second so I am not too worried. Our race pace looks really strong and we have bits and a direction to keep improving. I had a good run in the last session and I am really happy. The PTR team's working fantastic with everyone getting on good; as a team we feel a lot stronger than last year. We have more work to do over the weekend but right now I am looking forward to a couple of days off and chilling."

Mathew (Bogdanka PTR Honda): "The test went really well for me. We tried a lot of things and I'm really positive ahead of the weekend. On the first day we focused on learning the bike, the circuit and finding the best setup. Today we were fine tuning it and trying different things and step-by-step we've been making good progress. Phillip Island is very fast and flowing so I really enjoyed these two days and now it's definitely one of my favourite tracks. I want to learn more and go faster over the weekend and be inside the top 12 again in the race."

Jules (PTR Honda): "I am happy as I didn't expect to be fifth. I think the PTR Honda Supersport bike is quite nice. For me I have good points such as the traction control, braking strategy, chassis and the engine's power. I improved every session and I think it is normal because I did not know the bike before Monday. I am happy with the PTR team; it has a lot of experience, so I did not try to improve the bike, I tried to improve myself. For me everyone is relaxed and this is a good way to work."

Ronan (PTR Honda): "The test was good; we basically tried to get the best set-up for race distance. On the first day we didn't get the times we wanted. Then on Tuesday morning we went really well and I was fastest at the beginning of the session. Chris (Chief Mechanic) worked on the bike set up so I could feel comfortable. I am just out of top five and feel comfortable with a really good race set up and am looking forward to Friday."

Martin: (Riders PTR Honda): "Everything is heading in the right direction but I am still massively riding my PTR Honda like a Superbike and I need to get my head round how to ride it like a 600. I am squaring corners and powering out when I need more corner speed. My confidence is high and on Friday we will get on with it. Every time I go out I learn every lap - I am on a steep learning curve and enjoying it."

Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "It's been a really good test. Sam and Jules have the ability to fight for victory, Ronan has improved a lot and so has Mathew; there is more to come from both of them. Martin is still adapting his style from Superbike and has four more sessions before the race, so will improve."


CAMIER SETS HIS BEST LAP AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Team Suzuki Press Office - February 21.

Team Crescent Fixi Suzuki ended the first official tests of the year in an upbeat mood today with Leon Camier beating his best-ever lap-time at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.

Both Camier and Josh Brookes are now looking forward to this weekend's opening round of the World Superbike Championship at the circuit: Camier ended the test eighth fastest over the two days - just three-tenths-of-a-second behind Tom Sykes - and is happy with the progress he and the team have made during the tests. Brookes, who is standing in for injured John Hopkins, continued to work on his understanding of the Yoshimura-tuned Crescent Fixi GSX-R1000 and is looking forward to further improvement at the start of this weekend's race.

Leon Camier - 129 laps, best 1:32.320:

"Generally I am pretty happy because we've tried a lot of different things and made a lot of progress during these tests. We've collected a lot of data and we'll analyse this over the next day or so to get ready for the race weekend. At the moment, I'm just missing out a little in just one sector of the track and if we can sort this out, I know I can lap quite a bit quicker.

"The track is always very hard on tyres but this year it is much bumpier than ever before and that is causing a few problems. Nevertheless, I'm very happy with my lap times because I have gone half a second quicker than ever before here. Considering that this is a new bike for and a new team, I think that's a pretty good start and very encouraging for the future. I feel very comfortable on the bike. It is very rider friendly and doesn't do anything crazy. I'm going to have a couple of days off now, but I'm already really looking forward to Friday and the first practice."

Josh Brookes - 112 laps, best 1:33.623:

"I am disappointed not to be further up the order, but I guess that's only to be expected when you consider that today was only my third day on the bike and my third day with the team. I always knew that jumping on this bike wasn't going to be easy and that's the way it has been. We've progressed for sure, but I would've liked more progress, more quickly. These tests have been mentally draining because there's so much to take in and I want to thank the whole Crescent Fixi Suzuki crew for all their hard work and patience.

"I'm a little sore from a crash yesterday when I hit my hip quite hard and opened up an old scar. I had four stitches, but I can honestly say that the crash has had no effect on my riding today. At the moment my biggest problem are the bumps and so we've being doing a lot of work to get the GSX-R to absorb the bumps and stay stable. Once we've done that, I'll be able to go a lot faster for sure."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

I am pretty content overall. It's been a pretty tough test for us all, but we knew beforehand that it wouldn't be easy. I am reasonably happy with what we've achieved but would've been even happier if we had sorted out Leon's third sector because that would've pushed him quite a bit further up the standings. We'll look at all the data and try and sort it out in Friday's practice sessions.

"Leon's happy on the bike and it shows. Josh is definitely improving every time out and although there's still work to be done I am confident that he can do it. The weekend ahead is going to be tough, but I'd be more than happy with some solid performances and some top-six finishes."

2012

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Comments

Sofuoglu and his all action style, with his propensity for mistakes, has proven that he is that old fashioned creature - a niche class rider. The WSBK had too much power for him and the manner he rides, and Moto2 required too clinical an approach with its emphasis on corner speed.

Aoyama - Perhaps too early to pigeon hole him in the same manner. Yet he always looked too 250 smooth on the MotoGP machine. Tell will tell if he can really come to dominate a big bike in the manner required to get the best from it. The looser nature of a WSBK maybe a step too far from this born and breed GP man though.

Total votes: 50