2013 WSBK And WSS Official Phillip Island Test Press Releases

Press releases and previews from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the final test at Phillip Island, and looking forward to the first races of the season this weekend:


CHECA AND TEAM SBK DUCATI ALSTARE SCORE FASTEST LAP AT THE END OF OFFICIAL TESTING AT PHILLIP ISLAND!

Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 19 February 2013: with Carlos Checa back on his feet after last week’s setback, the Spanish rider and Team SBK Ducati Alstare was able to make full use of two official test days at the Phillip Island circuit, scoring some very encouraging results in the process.

During day one, in warm and sunny conditions, Checa finally enjoyed some solid track time and worked hard with his team to make technical adjustments to his 1199 Panigale, which will make its highly anticipated debut in the World Superbike category this coming weekend. Yesterday the performances of several riders, Carlos included, picked up late in the afternoon. The Spaniard finished day one in sixth position, with a best of 1’31.5. Day two saw further improvement on a much cooler track, with Carlos fastest in the morning’s damp conditions. Shortly before the end of the day, on a dry track, he improved on times set yesterday to close in overall first position with a time of 1’31.0, the fastest lap recorded during the two days. His pace augers well for the upcoming races.

Although Ayrton Badovini was not left with any serious injury after last week’s crash, he took the decision, after consultation with the Clinica Mobile, to sit out day one of the test session as he is still suffering some pain. He did complete a handful of laps today but took things easy, so as to ensure that he’s in better condition for this weekend’s races, the first of the 2013 World Superbike season.

Carlos Checa: ‘I’m extremely happy with the results; it was a nice surprise to make the fastest lap, with everybody riding in the same conditions. I honestly didn’t believe that we’d be at this level at this point; I thought I’d finish about seventh. We were already able to find a good base setting yesterday and then continued to work from there today. I like the fact that every change we make to this bike is positive and it seems that everything we do results in us going in the right direction. The team are working really well together and this is the first time this year that we’ve had good conditions that have allowed us to spend a lot of time on the bike. Working on this new project right now is one of the most satisfying moments of my life. It is an exciting challenge and today’s results show that the bike has great potential and that there is still room for improvement.’

Ayrton Badovini: ‘I only did a few laps today, just to see how I felt on the bike. I have a hematoma on my liver and that makes me very sore – especially through the right turns and when changing direction at speed. According to the doctor, this kind of thing normally needs one month to heal properly, but I’m hoping that, after two days rest, I will be able to get on my bike and get round the circuit ok. I’m reasonably happy with what we got done last week. I’ve never ridden a twin before and the bike’s characteristics are very different to what I’m used to. So far I’ve been concentrating on making small steps forward, instead of trying anything radical and I feel that we’re making progress.. We have to improve quite a few things, but that is normal with a new bike. I am positive that once we get the bike dialled in, we can get good results.’

Francis Batta’, Team SBK Ducati Alstare owner: ‘For me, it’s been a good test. Carlos is a good development rider and he has shown what’s possible with this bike. This has been the first time this year that we’ve had decent weather and that has allowed us to work hard and try a lot of things. After today, I feel confident in this project and I now think we’ll be competitive sooner than we originally thought.’


WITH THE FIRST ROUND IN AUSTRALIA WORLD SUPERBIKE OFFICIALLY KICKS OFF FOR THE APRILIA RACING TEAM. EUGENE LAVERTY AND SYLVAIN GUINTOLI, BUSY WITH TWO TESTING SESSIONS OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS, ARE READY FOR THIS NEW CHALLENGE.

Phillip Island, 19 February 2013 – Things are getting serious now: this weekend the 2013 Superbike season will start, with the Aprilia Racing Team committed to defending the double championship title they won last year. The team from Veneto has already been in Australia for a few days as they chose to take part in two pre-season test sessions. The test results were comforting for the two Aprilia standard bearers: Eugene Laverty continued working on fine tuning the set-up of his RSV4, especially to work with the new Pirelli 17 inch tyres, while Sylvain Guintoli put in some important kilometres on a bike which is new to him.

The clock confirmed that Eugene and Sylvain are in top form, so their first weekend of the 2013 season starts off with excellent potential. In any case, the extremely high level of the factory derivative world championship was clear throughout the tests. This is a competition where the difference between a good result and a reserve position is truly minimal. Precisely for this reason the riders and Team must give their all, just as the show on the track will be maximum entertainment.

Something new for the 2013 season is the possibility of making a pit stop to change tyres in the event of variable weather conditions, which required the team to conduct specific tests to verify procedures and prepare for the best way to go about handling such a delicate situation.

Eugene Laverty can't wait to get on the track: “I think we’re ready for the race weekend. The tyre life is going to be the most important thing, but we’re still a long way from Sunday so we don’t know what the conditions will be. The Aprilia seems to be working, in my opinion, better than any other bike here for the balance, I’m positive we can start the season with some good results”.

“The tests have gone well - Sylvain also confirms - over the days I got to know the bike better. We concentrated most of the work on making the bike fast for the race, which is going to be an issue for many people here. After this test sessions I feel closer to the bike and closer to my Team and this is really important. I’m looking forward to the weekend and I'm aiming to put on a good show on Sunday”.


Pata Honda completes winter testing programme

The Pata Honda World Superbike team has concluded four days of testing at Phillip Island ahead of Sunday’s opening round of the 2013 eni FIM Superbike World championship at the Australian circuit.

A private test held on Thursday and Friday at Phillip Island last week was followed by a test organised by Dorna, the championship’s new owners, on Monday and Tuesday. Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have continued the development of their Honda CBR1000RR machines and finished the test separated by just four hundredths of a second.

With a fastest lap of 1m31.356s, Rea set the sixth fastest time overall on the final afternoon of testing at the 4.448km circuit, which underwent a complete resurfacing in January. Haslam, his new team-mate for 2013, fired in a lap of 1m31.396s yesterday afternoon for the seventh quickest lap overall.

Sunday’s SBK opener will have particular significance for Rea since race two at Phillip Island will mark his 100th World Superbike start. The 26-year-old, who finished fifth overall in last season’s standings will be looking to add to his 10 victories and 19 other podium finishes in 98 starts to date.

While 29-year-old Haslam, has experienced more Superbike race starts than Rea, he has also enjoyed success at Phillip Island, taking his first SBK win in 2010. He too will be seeking to expand on his current total of three race victories from his 28 podium finishes.

Jonathan Rea – best lap 1m31.356s

It can be strange riding at Phillip Island, especially doing so many testing laps over four days. The conditions can change so dramatically – yesterday we had almost 60 degrees of track temperature and today it was less than 25. The wind changed going down the straight, from a tail-wind yesterday to being in our faces today, and the changing conditions can upset the chassis settings on the bike. Yesterday, I didn’t feel that good but today it was 100 times better. We’ve been trying to do a lot of laps on old tyres and we still have some tyre life issues to work on for the race weekend, but I think that’s a common problem up and down pit lane. The tests have finished positively, even though we didn’t get a chance for a maximum time attack. The guys in my crew have been working really hard to get the electronics set up to my exact liking, especially the application of the traction control, but we’ve learned a lot. We still have a lot to do for the weekend – it’s clear that, if we want to go fast on a new tyre, we can, but Phillip Island isn’t about that. It’s about still having a good tyre on lap 22, so there’s still some work to be done.

Leon Haslam – best lap 1m31.396s

Our testing has been frustrating at times and in Jerez last month we lost the first day to the weather and the second day with some electronics teething problems. I think we made more progress in the first three hours here at Phillip Island than in two days in Jerez, so these two tests here have been really important. We haven’t progressed too much more today because we had a problem with the weather this morning and still had some gremlins with the electronics. But we’ve found out what the problem is and, even with the bike cutting out intermittently all the way round my best lap this afternoon, I still managed to do a decent time. We’ve still got more work to do and more things to try but now we go in to Friday looking for a set-up that will make the tyres last on race day. I’m happy to be in that position and, if all goes well, we can maybe try some of those new things, but the priority now is race set-up and tyres.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

After our problems in Jerez, I’m very happy with the results of these two tests in Phillip Island. We were a little anxious about the amount of work we had to do here in order to close the gap to the competition but, from what we have seen over these four days, it looks like we’ve been able to do it. We’ve finally started to get the hang of the new electronics and we’ve had enough track time to make the adjustments that have been required. Leon especially has been comfortably on the pace here throughout all four days. Jonathan had a good private test last week but lost a little confidence yesterday. Today the bike was better and his confidence returned and he finished very strongly near the front. Now we look forward to the weekend and I have to say that it’s great to have not one but two competitive riders - it’s certainly going to be an exciting first round.


BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team - Phillip Island - Official Test and Preview

Munich/Milan, 19th February 2013. The anticipation and excitement in the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team are palpable: this coming weekend (22nd to 24th February), the FIM Superbike World Championship’s winter break comes to an end in the Australian summer. The 2013 season gets underway with the opening race of the year on Phillip Island, near Melbourne. After the success of last year, BMW Motorrad’s goals for this season are to establish the team as one of the top outfits and to claim as many wins and podiums as possible.

Italian Marco Melandri is now in his second season as a BMW Motorrad works rider. Last year he guided his BMW S 1000 RR to six wins, eleven podiums and four fastest race laps. He was still in with a shout of winning the World Championship title right down to the final race, and ultimately ended the season in third place overall in the Riders’ Championship. His new team-mate is Britain’s Chaz Davies. The 2011 Supersport world champion made his debut in the FIM Superbike World Championship last year, and immediately impressed in his first season at the highest level of production-based motorcycle racing with a win and four podiums.

The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team travelled to Australia at the start of last week. In preparation for the season-opener, the team completed a private two-day test on Phillip Island on Thursday and Friday, before taking part in the official tests at the circuit on the south coast of Australia on Monday and Tuesday. While it was sunny and very hot on Monday, weather conditions changed completely for today, Tuesday. It was cloudy and cool with a few showers of drizzle. Marco and Chaz used the test to work on the fine-tuning of their RRs, and on setting the bikes up to cope with the special demands of the Phillip Island circuit. In addition, Pirelli provided the new 17-inch-tyres allocated for the race weekend at the official test and the team tested them with regard to their performance over a race distance.

Phillip Island from the rider’s point of view:

Marco Melandri:

“The Phillip Island track is really awesome, it is challenging, fast and flowing. One thing that makes Phillip Island so special is the atmosphere – and I love these fast corners. The new tarmac is quite difficult for the tyre and for us riders it is not easy to understand how the grip is. We had two days of testing with all weather conditions. Today with the cooler temperatures the track was faster than yesterday and it was easier to ride as the wind was not so strong.

In these two days of testing we completed a lot of work with our RR. In general I am quite happy with the bike and we have a good base for the first race weekend. But we have more work to do in two areas where we are still struggling. We still have issues with tyre wear and we need to improve that for the races. The second issue is that we’re experiencing chatter, similar to last year’s race weekend at Phillip Island. We are working on solving that. Unfortunately my shoulder is still causing me difficulties, and I still feel pain. I hope that I will feel better on the race weekend.”

Chaz Davies:

“Phillip Island is always a challenge not only because the race track is extremely fast but it is the first race of the year and after the winter break it feels like you are going at 500 km/h into the first corner. It is a really challenging, but great circuit. I am really looking forward to racing again; it has been quite a while now.

The change of weather conditions over the past two days did not make life easy for us. I was reasonably happy with the direction we were going with the high temperatures yesterday but then today seems to have changed everything. In today’s cooler conditions, I had some issues with vibrations that I did not have in the heat. We will have a look over the data and try to improve it and to understand how the bike is working in such conditions. In general we are quite well prepared and over the next two days we will analyse what we have done in testing and try to put something together.”

Phillip Island from a technical point of view:

Stephan Fischer (Technical Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport):

“We are well prepared for the season-opener. We made some important findings already during the winter tests in Jerez and the performance on the track confirmed that we have been heading in the right direction with our development work. As such, we arrived at Phillip Island with a lot of momentum and motivation. However, we will have to wait until the race weekend itself for the first real indication of where we stand compared to our rivals. During the tests, you never know exactly who is on what programme; the real performance will only be revealed over the race weekend.

The circuit at Phillip Island is one of the best you can imagine in motor racing. The view from the final left-hander, over the start/finish straight to the sea, is one of a kind. The track has been resurfaced and the surface will change as more rubber is laid down. Then we will see what qualities it really possesses. Parts of the track are very quick, but it also features technical sections, in which the emphasis is on handling. It is a circuit with a good mixture of everything, and there are a lot of potential winners. With that in mind, we are guaranteed a great and exciting start to the season. We are looking forward to racing in Phillip Island, a circuit that we have fond memories of. For the last two years we have got the season off to a good start with podiums here.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):

“Over the two days of official testing we had the chance to test for the first time the tyres brought by Pirelli for the race. Unfortunately yesterday it was very hot and the high temperatures had an impact on tyre life. Then today, we seemed to be in a completely different season with much cooler conditions. Like many teams we are still encountering significant tyre wear and this is the biggest issue we would like to fix before Sunday’s races. We collected a lot of data and both crews tested a wide range of settings in terms of the chassis and the weight distribution in order to improve the tyre life. The next two days will be fundamental for us as we will go through the data and plan our programme for Friday’s practice. In general, we are looking forward to the first race. After a long winter of preparation, we are confident that we are able to fight with the top guys with both of our riders.”

Phillip Island from a sporting point of view:

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):

“During the private and the official tests the team worked very hard to evaluate many components and to find the best settings for the bike. Unfortunately, many external variables made the work of the riders and the team not easy: the new tarmac of the race track, the new 17-inch tyres and the unstable weather conditions. Marco struggled a lot with his right shoulder. Now our main concern for the weekend is to find a medical therapy that enables him to ride the two races without too much pain. Luckily after Phillip Island we have one and a half months to recover his shoulder. Chaz improved his feeling with the RR, even if he did not make all the steps he expected himself.”

Phillip Island from Pirelli’s point of view:

The first round of 2013 at Phillip Island marks an era-making milestone because of the switch from 16.5-inch tyres to the new 17-inch tyres. Over the winter and during the last season, Pirelli engineers worked tirelessly, completely redesigning the new tyres which now have new profiles and sides, as well as a larger tread contact surface. These tyres ensure a reduction in movement and improved stability and handling in turns, as well as the ability to maintain performance throughout the race. The compound range was also redesigned from scratch based on the new structure of the 17 inch tyres and now the new blends are softer, more versatile and offer higher performance.

Phillip Island has always been one of the most demanding tracks on the Superbike calendar for tyres, which are subjected to strong and constant thermal-mechanical stress, especially on the left side. In December, the whole track was resurfaced. This will no doubt play a key role this year in terms of the tyres which will have to take on new asphalt which has never before been raced on. The track also has various fast turns which have an intense impact on the front. Until now wear on the front had never been an issue because of the completely smooth asphalt, but with the new and much rougher surface this aspect could play a determining role. Obviously Pirelli engineers have worked toward preventing these problems by designing development solutions which will be able to handle the critical issues on the Phillip Island circuit.

For the Superbike class, Pirelli will provide four slick solutions for dry on the front and as many for the rear. These are joined by the rear qualifier and the intermediate and wet solutions. The slicks chosen by Pirelli on the front are an SC1 solution in a soft compound range and three SC2 solutions in medium compound, one of which is in the standard range and two more sturdy models which were custom designed to handle the new Australian asphalt. For the rear, Pirelli will provide the riders with a choice of four development solutions: two SC1 medium compound and two SC2 hard compound. Of the two SC2 solutions, one (the R1300) is a solution midway between the SC1 tyres and the SC2 R1301. It provides better wear resistance than the SC1 solutions and more grip than the other SC2. All of the rear solutions were developed using particular internal materials with the goal of keeping operating temperatures low in order to prevent overheating in the extreme areas of the left side tread.

Background:

The “Phillip Island Circuit” is one of the most scenic racetracks on the World Championship calendar. The circuit is located on the island of the same name in the Australian state of Victoria, about 120 kilometres south-east of Melbourne. Phillip Island is linkes to the mainland via a 640-metre long bridge. One popular tourist attraction is the “Penguin Parade”: every morning countless little penguins leave their cliff caves and make their way over the beach to the sea, before returning in the evening. Phillip Island may only have an area of 100km², but the island does boast a long tradition of motorsport. The first car races were held there as early as 1926, whilst the inaugural motorcycle race took place in 1931. In 1956 a permanent racetrack was built on the island – the “Phillip Island Circuit”.

It is located right on the coast in an area of breath-taking scenery. The stars of the motorbike scene are regular guests here: both the MotoGP series and the Superbike World Championship, which has staged races here every year since 1990, with the exception of 1993. Nowadays, the season-opener of the Superbike World Championship is regularly held on Phillip Island, and this is the case once again in 2013. BMW Motorrad works rider Marco Melandri claimed his first podium in the series there in 2011. Last year he finished runner-up in his first race on the BMW S 1000 RR.

Phillip Island is a very fast and flowing, natural circuit, which blends into the hilly, coastal landscape with big changes in elevation and fascinating combinations of corners. The riders must apply just the right amount of gas when accelerating out of some of the fast corners, in order to avoid the wheels spinning and wheelies.

For the 2013 season, the whole track has been resurfaced. Now, the tarmac is very smooth and fast, and for this year’s race weekend, the lap times are expected to fall. The proximity to the sea brings about two challenges: gusts of wind of varying strength blowing over the coast, and unpredictable changes in the weather.


The Althea Racing team successfully completes the tests at Phillip Island

Second and last day of tests for Althea Racing Team on Philip Island track. The poor weather conditions, cloudy skies and sporadic rain, have conditioned the morning session and not all the riders tested on track. Davide Giugliano rode only eight laps and reached the best time with 1’35’’144. Ninth place for him in the standing. Before the second session began, Davide’s physical conditions deteriorated due to a virus that has caused intestinal problems and high fever. The Althea rider was immediately taken care of by the Clinica Mobile and his conditions have improved to the point to allow him not only to participate in the entire practice session, but also to mark the seventh fastest time (1'31 "640). Now the Althea team has two days off before facing the first round of the World Superbike 2013.

Genesio Bevilacqua: “Considering Davide’s poor physical condition, weakened by fever, we can only be satisfied with how our tests went. Our goal was to understand the tires reacted and it was not easy due to the difference in temperature between yesterday and today. In these two days we have noticed that the gap between the riders of the first positions is very minimal, but we are very satisfied with our results. We have collected all the information that will allow us to start at the best the next weekend of races. We are ready and confident. "

Davide Giugliano: “ Just one hour before the beginning of the last session, I was running a fever of almost 38 ° so I'm glad I participated to the tests and had reached a good time. We worked hard and well, and I think I'm ready for the first round of the World Superbike Championship. However, the uncertainty remains of the tires that we can use during the weekend as we do not know which temperature there will be. Regarding the bike, I am satisfied with the level reached even if we still have some things we can improve. I'm not happy with my seventh place today because it is not a position suited to the value of our team, but we were oriented to work more on the bike than seeking the lap time.”


Van der Mark impresses for Pata Honda

The Pata Honda team has concluded its winter test programme ahead of this weekend’s (22-24 February) opening round of the 2013 World Supersport championship at Phillip Island in Australia.

Michael van der Mark, who debuts in the championship this season after winning last season’s European Superstock 600 series on the Ten Kate Honda Junior Team's CBR600RR, continued his impressive pre-season form by setting the fourth fastest time overall in an official two-day test which ended this afternoon.

His new team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti, also a World Supersport rookie for 2013, continues his adaptation from last season in World Superbikes, but made a positive step today, shaving one second off his previous best time at the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit.

The Pata Honda duo will now line up for the coming weekend with the aim of finding a suitable set-up that will allow their tyres to perform for Sunday’s 21-lap race.

Michael van der Mark

I’m really happy after this test and looking forward to the weekend. We’ve worked hard on the race set-up today and did two complete race simulations and we found a good pace. More importantly we found a good solution to keep the tyre working at the end of the race. OK, it was still destroyed but the times were quite good. In the last 15 minutes today we tried to do a qualifying lap and managed a good time. I’m happy with fourth place and we will try to maintain this performance through the first round.

Lorenzo Zanetti

I’d like to thank the whole team for the step forward we made today. We have tried many things during the winter testing but I have found it a little bit hard to adapt to the CBR600RR after riding bigger bikes for the last few years. The team made a great job today which allowed me to make this step and now the gap to the front is smaller. We changed the bike, my riding style and I am much more comfortable. I think we can make some more steps during the two days of practice this weekend and I will aim for a good result in the race.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

We are quite happy with the results of our tests here at Phillip Island. Michael did a great job to finish fourth fastest, but he has shown a lot of potential throughout our testing. Today, he showed this even more and we have great expectations for him to finish strongly in the first race. On the final afternoon of the final day’s testing, we made quite a big step with Lorenzo. The time has improved by almost a second from this morning because his feeling and confidence have improved through some general changes we made. His times are consistent, too, so we go into the race weekend happy and with a good feeling.


Carlos Checa and Team Ducati Alstare on top as official test ends

Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 19 February 2013 - Mixed weather played a part in today’s second and final eni FIM Superbike World Championship testing day at Phillip Island. The 15 riders who got onto the track during the morning session took a steadier approach to the 4445 km circuit compared to yesterday, though they still continued their work on the drying track.

The afternoon session saw improved conditions and a consequent bettering of lap-times. Carlos Checa was fastest at the end of the day courtesy of a stunning lap-time of 1’31.059. The Alstare Ducati rider raised the bar of performances to a new level onboard his 1199 Panigale R, as both bike and track surface started to show their full potential.

Carlos Checa: “It’s nice to do the best lap time, with everybody in the same conditions, and it was a nice surprise for me. I honestly didn’t believe that we’d be at this level at this point. I like this track, it’s fast and flowing, which suits me and the Ducati, but I didn’t expect to be the quickest. Before this test, I thought we’d be about 7-8th. The team have worked really well and we’ve improved every time we’ve gone out. This bike is very reactive and it has not been so hard finding a good setting.”

Riders from 2nd to 5th place Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) finished within 3 tenths of a second gap from the leader, with the top-11 all within a second.

Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) took part to today’s second session despite a strong flu. After being treated at the Medical Centre the 23 year old was able to get on track and eventually finished 7th, despite a slow-speed crash at Siberia Corner.

Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) got a taste of the gravel as he high-sided at the last turn of the track. The rookie from France escaped the heavy crash uninjured. Ayrton Badovini (Alstare Team Ducati) was on track this afternoon for a quick shakedown to check his fitness conditions. After ten laps completed in the morning, Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing Ducati) decided to quit the test and go on his own to the hospital, for further medical examinations.

Times: 1. Checa (Ducati) 1'31.059 average 175.732 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 1'31.237; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'31.261; 4. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1'31.350; 5. Rea (Honda) 1'31.356; 6. Haslam (Honda) 1'31.549; 7. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'31.640; 8. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'31.658; 9. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'31.712; 10. Camier (Suzuki) 1'31.814; 11. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'32.044; 12. Davies (BMW) 1'32.102; 13. Allerton (BMW) 1'32.159; 14. Stauffer (Honda) 1'32.255; 15. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'32.625; 16. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'32.880; 17. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'32.964; 18. Clementi (BMW) 1'33.293; 19. Lundh (Kawasaki) 1'33.447; 20. Badovini (Ducati) 1'33.686.

Mondiale Supersport - Superb lap for Sam Lowes in official testing Day 2

Despite the temperature fall and the cloudy skies above the circuit, Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) was able to drop 0.443 seconds off his Day 1 best lap time to top the timesheets at the end of the morning session.

The rider from Lincoln has put a 0.181 gap between himself and second placed Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), with Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda), Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) to follow.

The session was red flagged with 30 minutes to go due to technical problems occurred to Sheridan Morais’ PTR Honda CBR600RR, and after the restart a quick rain shower passed through. The surface dried up quickly thanks to the brand-new asphalt, allowing the riders to spent the last 10 minutes on track.

Lowes was able to further improve his best lap-time up to a remarkable 1’33.076 - almost 8 tenths of a second quicker than the best lap - that helped him finish as fastest of the whole test for the Supersport class. Mahi Racing Team India placed Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, not far time-wise from the leader despite a technical problem for the Frenchman towards the end.

Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) was able to climb up to 4th place at his last attempt before the chequered flag was waved. The Dutch rider finished ahead of David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), Hungarian Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda) and Russian Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha).

Austria’s David Linortner (Team Honda PTR) crashed out of turn 12 halfway through the afternoon session, while Eduard Blokhin (Rivamoto Honda) fell off his CBR600RR with 12 minutes to go before the end of the test.

Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1'33.076 average 171.924 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'33.384; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'33.614; 4. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'33.874; 5. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'33.950; 6. Talmacsi (Honda) 1'34.048; 7. Leonov (Yamaha) 1'34.140; 8. Menghi (Yamaha) 1'34.258; 9. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1'34.375; 10. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'34.428; etc


CLUZEL IMPROVES AT PHILLIP ISLAND TEST

Team Suzuki Press Office - February 19.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki has finished its pre-season preparations for the 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship as testing drew to a close at Phillip Island in Australia today.

Jules Cluzel made good progress during this afternoon's practice and his times steadily improved as he continued to understand his full-blown Superbike. He had recorded a best time of 1'32.044 - almost 0.8 seconds better than yesterday - during his 16-completed laps, but a fast high-side crash on the last corner ended his session early and curtailed any chance he had of reducing his times further. Cluzel was uninjured in the accident, but his machine sustained heavy damage and could not be repaired in-time for him to return to the action. His time today was good enough to give him 11th position overall in the combined times from the two-day test.

After a sharp downpour soaked the 4,445m circuit, this morning's first session produced very little action with just a few riders venturing out on track. Leon Camier was one that stayed in the garage and waited until conditions improved for this afternoon. He used the second session to complete the comprehensive test schedule the team had set and concentrating on fine-tuning individual elements of the machine. These four days of testing in Australia have proved very fruitful for Camier as he has led the timesheets on two of the three days and was second on another. His best time of 1'31.814 from today's 28-laps gave him 10th in the standings, but his fastest time from yesterday meant that he finished the test in third in the overall classification. Today's quickest time was set by Carlos Checa on a Ducati.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now have two days to get its final planning into place before the season starts for real when the first day of practice for the Australian round of the championship begins on Friday.

Jules Cluzel:

"We improved this afternoon and the feeling was much better with the front. We tried a different rear tyre and the feeling also improved, but on lap three I lost the rear on the last corner. I don't know why it happened and it's difficult to explain because I was little bit slower and with less throttle. I think the asphalt is really strange here and I am continuing to learn this the hard way! I have no feeling for it, so we have to continue to find some and stop the crashes, because they have been all the same. I have lost the rear and we need to understand why this is happening. I hope we can improve something in the race weekend, because my feeling for the bike is becoming more positive."

Leon Camier:

"I just kept things really steady today to be honest! This morning was drizzling, so we didn't even make a lap and this afternoon we just had a few small things to try. We tested the harder tyres to see how long they would last and which would be the best tyre to run, if it is colder on race-day. We just cruised around really and didn't try to go for any lap-times this afternoon, it was all about confirming a few things and making sure the bike's feeling was right."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"On Leon's side today was a little bit meaningless, because we just had some checks to run through this afternoon and confirm which rear tyre is most suited to the colder temperature. Leon didn't push hard at all and we're very comfortable that the pace shown in the unofficial test and yesterday is where we're at, which is right up with the fastest guys. Leon and his crew are now looking forward to the motivation of the race weekend and getting right back to the sharp end on Friday.

"For Jules this morning was a write-off due to the conditions, but this afternoon was a good opportunity to take the next steps in his understanding of the GSX-R Superbike and regaining his confidence. He certainly did that, improving significantly in lap-time and getting a consistent rhythm. Unfortunately he got caught out on the last corner and the bike pitched him over the handlebars. He is 100% ok, and I really can't blame him for the accident; this new Phillip Island surface has a very unpredictable nature in terms of understanding the levels of grip and the data clearly shows that Jules was not pushing overly aggressively. The team will do everything it can to set the bike to provide more feedback at the limits and start again on Friday morning."


2013

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