Press releases previews, complete with video, from some of the World Superbike and World Supersport teams from Phillip Island:
Pata Honda - Phillip Island SBK - video preview
Following the conclusion of yesterday's official World Superbike test at Phillip Island, the Pata Honda team is delighted to bring you this video preview to this weekend's opening round in Australia.
The team's riders, Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, discuss the test and the coming weekend's two races, the second of which will mark the 100th World Superbike start for Rea.
The video is accompanied by some stunning footage of last week's private test at Phillip Island.
TEAM SBK DUCATI ALSTARE PREPARES FOR ACTION; THE 2013 SBK SEASON KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Phillip Island (Australia), Wednesday 20 February 2013: the countdown to the start of the 2013 World Superbike championship continues… The season’s opening races are set to get underway this Friday at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia and Team SBK Ducati Alstare and its riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini are fully prepared for this exciting challenge.
Having completed a series of very useful tests in recent days, the team is busy making final preparations to the new 1199 Panigale bikes ahead of this weekend’s action. Both riders will take the opportunity to rest up over the next two days, with Carlos recuperating from an intestinal problem and Ayrton from a hematoma near the liver that resulted from last week’s crash.
The two Ducati Alstare flag bearers are enthusiastic about racing on the Australian track once more. Checa has been very successful at the Island in recent years, winning four of the last six races while Badovini has had less luck on Australian soil; a variety of technical issues during Superbike races have meant that his best result to date was a fourteenth place finish in 2011.
Carlos Checa: ‘I’ve always got on very well at Phillip Island and we have good references here that will be very useful. Of course, the race is going to be very hard and competitive and we don’t really know how the tyre wear is going to be. It will be definitely be harder once the tyres are worn and that will affect the lap times. There are still some areas on the track where we struggle, like turn 3, and you have to have a lot of confidence going into turn 1 as it is so fast. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen in the race, but for sure a top six is possible depending on the conditions. After today, my aim is to be challenging the leaders.’
Checa’s Superbike form at Phillip Island:
2012: Gara 1- DNF, Gara 2 - vincitore
2011: Gara 1- vincitore, Gara 2 - vincitore
2010: Race 1- 7th, Race 2 - winner
2009: Race 1 – 12th, Race 2 – 13th
2008: Race 1 – 6th, Race 2 – 2nd
Ayrton Badovini: ‘Everything depends on how I feel and it’s too early to say what’s going to happen on race day. If my condition is ok and I can push hard then I think I can be in the top 10 at least. I think we have a good base setting and everything we do at the moment seems to be taking us in the right direction. This will be my first race on a twin cylinder bike, but I know that this circuit generally suits Ducati bikes, so I’m hoping to have a good couple of races.’
Badovini’s Superbike form at Phillip Island:
2012: Gara 1- DNF, Gara 2 - DNF
2011: Gara 1- 14°, Gara 2 - DNF
Country: Australia Name: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Length of circuit: 4.445 km Pole Position: left Race distance: 22 laps/97.790 km
LAP RECORDS: Best lap – Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'31.785 (2012). Superpole – Checa (Ducati) 1'30.882 (2011).
2012 RESULTS: Race 1 - 1. Biaggi (Aprilia); 2. Melandri (BMW); 3. Guintoli (Ducati). Race 2 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Biaggi (Aprilia); 3. Sykes (Kawasaki)
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - Preview WSBK season opener Phillip Island
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK team look forward to Phillip Island
With the season opener of the 2013 WSBK season about to start, we caught up with Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies to find out how much they're looking forward to getting back on track and showing what the BMW S1000 RR can do!
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:
"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."
"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.
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.
Talent-packed Supersport field set for Phillip Island opener
For immediate release: February 19, 2013.
The depth of talent within the all-new Motul Australian Supersport Championship will be on show to the world when the 600cc class contests its first races under new rules at Phillip Island this weekend.
The amalgamation of the Superstock and Supersport classes will provide riders with greater competition on an even playing field – the formula for a season of sensational racing.
2012 Superstock Champion Daniel Falzon is eager to make his presence felt in the new class, and hopes continuity in the off-season will serve him well on the Caterpillar EPS Yamaha YZF-R6.
“We’re heading into 2013 all guns blazing, there was obviously a bit of preparation to get the bikes into the required spec but has all gone pretty smoothly and we’re ready for whatever the first round throws at us,” said Falzon.
“I’ve been putting as much work into my personal fitness as I can – I really don’t know how we’ll measure up against what is an extremely fast field so I’ve left nothing to chance.
“Like every rider I love Phillip Island and I love the buzz of being there with the World Superbikes.
“For me it’s a track that has great personal significance – I won my first ASBK race there and my first junior title, so it’s a very positive place.”
A new year brings new possibilities for Racer’s Edge Performance Suzuki GSXR rider Mitch Levy, who is looking forward to opening his account on a high note at the rider-favourite Phillip Island circuit.
“We’ve had a few track days out at Eastern Creek and the bike is working really well, I can’t wait to test it out at the new surface at Phillip Island,” said Levy.
“It’s going to be a big class this year and it’s tough to tell exactly where we’ll be at, this will be a good chance to see how fast we are compared to the other guys.
“Phillip Island is a personal favourite for me, as I’m sure it is with other riders.
“The key is to come away with good consistent points and get our Championship off to a strong start.”
A field of 34 have confirmed their entries for the season opener this weekend, each eager to reap the benefits of racing in conjunction with the World Superbike Championship.
Riders will take to the track for a pair of free practice sessions before qualifying on Friday and contesting a 10-lap race on Saturday and Sunday.
Bumper grid set for Prostock and 'WSBK Cup' Superbike races
For immediate release: February 20, 2013.
No less than seven manufacturers will make up the exciting grid for this weekend’s opening round of the Honda Australian Prostock Championship and the QBE Australian Superbike Championship’s highly-anticipated ‘WSBK Cup’.
The picturesque Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is the setting for what will be a closely-contested competition – it marks the first point-scoring opportunity for the Prostock class and is an important measure of momentum and form for Superbike riders, despite being a non-championship event.
With the factory Honda pairing of Jamie Stauffer and Josh Hook and Next Gen Motorsport BMW’s Glenn Allerton handed WSBK wildcard entries, the door has been left ajar for new Suzuki signing Wayne Maxwell to make his mark.
In the off-season, Maxwell made the move to the vacated seat of Josh Waters who has claimed a coveted ride in British Superbike and World Endurance competition.
Few can deny Maxwell’s dominance at his home circuit, and he is determined to prove a point this weekend despite the event’s non-championship status.
“This weekend’s going to be a great chance to learn more about the bike and see what it’s like in race trim, I’ve had a chance to do some testing but nothing compares to an actual race situation,” said Maxwell.
“For much of the time I’ve been in the ASBK Phil Tainton and Suzuki have been my main Championship rivals and everything just fell into place to make the change and go racing as part of their team.
“I’ve been runner-up quite a few times so this could be the breath of fresh air I need to go one better.
“I’ll be watching the guys who have wildcards in the World Superbikes very closely, their progress will be a good indication of how well they’re adapting to the Pirelli tyre.”
The Superbike category will see a host of familiar faces, including Linden Magee, Glenn Scott and Chas Hern, stepping up from other classes to lay down the challenge.
Prostock competitors will be fighting for both position and points when the lights go out on the weekend’s two 12-lap races.
New BMW signing Ben Nicolson is hopeful of opening his campaign with a healthy pointscore.
“The move from Kawasaki to BMW has been a big one – last year it was just myself and my Dad and now I’m on board with one of the biggest and most professional teams in the paddock,” said Nicolson.
“The bike is coming on strong but the real test will be getting up to speed for a good qualifying position and then putting in two solid races.
“I’ve never really had my best results at Phillip Island so this is a good opportunity to turn things around.”
33 bikes will be on the grid for the combined Superbike/WSBK Cup and Prostock races which will play out in front of a huge international crowd, both trackside and on television.
Action from the QBE Australian Superbike Championships will be broadcast live on SPEED TV as part of the channel’s comprehensive coverage of the event, giving the series extensive reach and exposure to an enthusiastic audience.
Aussie Superbike wildcards in the mix at Phillip Island
For immediate release: February 21, 2013.
Australia’s World Superbike wildcards will leave nothing in the tank when it comes to competing in front of a home crowd at Phillip Island this weekend.
The Grand Prix circuit hosts the opening round of the World Superbike Championship, and regulation changes have allowed a handful of QBE Australian Superbike Championship contenders to put their hand up for a grid spot.
Next Gen Motorsport’s Glenn Allerton and Team Honda Racing’s Jamie Stauffer have each secured a start for the Superbike races, while Stauffer’s younger teammate Josh Hook will campaign an entry in the Supersport field.
Two-time ASBK Champion Glenn Allerton has put his BMW through its paces during this week’s intensive two-day test and, despite some early setbacks, is quietly confident ahead of the first official practice sessions tomorrow.
He finished 13th outright on the timesheet with a competitive 1m32.159s lap versus the leader’s 1m31.059s effort.
“On the opening day we had a few overheating problems with the bike I am going to race so had to use the standard bike for much of the day,” explained Allerton.
“There was a sprinkling of rain on Tuesday morning which slowed us up a bit but by the afternoon we had the overheating issue worked out and managed to get some good clear laps in.
“I was within a second of the leaders and felt I got held up a bit by (Sylvain) Guintoli on my best flying lap so there is more to come.
“For the limited time we’ve had on the bike and considering things like the new surface and a new tyre we aren’t doing too badly.”
Allerton concedes he may not have the straight-line speed of the leaders but is hoping to make time back in other areas of the track.
“It’s only a 22-lap race so it’s going to be important to start well and find any advantage in the early laps,” he continued.
“I know I am not going to have the straight line speed of the leading guys, that’s a given, but I feel like I am able to make some time up on them in the corners so that’s what I’ve been focusing on.”
Stauffer and his Team Honda Racing outfit have used the two-day test to learn more about the WSBK-spec bike and make the necessary adjustments to bring it up to speed.
He shadowed Allerton on the overall timesheets, coming in 14th fastest with a best lap of 1m32.231s.
“We’ve found a good direction with the bike but are still looking for more improvements in lap time,” said Stauffer.
“Each time we’re learning more and more about the bike, each lap is helping us to determine whether we’re moving forward or not.
“The surface is definitely different – there is more grip overall but I was surprised to find that there are a few bigger bumps.
“The bike is very different to our ASBK machine in that we are able to change a lot more things. It’s been a big learning curve for myself and the team but we’re really enjoying doing something different.
“We’ll know more about where we’re placed after tomorrow’s sessions but after all of the feedback and data I think we’ll only be moving forward.”
The Superbike class will contest a 45-minute practice session tomorrow prior to two 45-minute qualifying sessions split across Friday and Saturday.
The final grid positions will be decided in the single-rider Superpole laps on Saturday afternoon before Sunday’s two 22-lap races.
In the World Supersport field, Josh Hook ended the two-day test on the cusp of the top 10, a 1.34.607s lap placing him 11th and in the mix with some incredibly talented company.
2012 Motul Australian Supersport Champion Mitchell Carr, who will campaign a full season in World Supersport this year, was 25th fastest after the final session.
The Supersport field will contest a series of practice and qualifying sessions across Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s pair of 21-lap races.
Onboard with Jonathan Rea at Phillip Island
As the 2013 World Superbike championship kicks off at Phillip Island in Australia this weekend, it's our pleasure to bring you an onboard lap of the circuit with Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea.
The 26-year-old rider from Northern Ireland talks us through a flying lap of the 4.445km circuit which was recorded by Gary Price of GSP Media at last week's private test at Phillip Island.
FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI SET FOR WSB OPENER
Team Suzuki Press Office - February 21.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki is looking in good shape as it gears up to the first round of this season's eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island in Australia this weekend.
Following a pair of successful pre-event tests at the 4,445m circuit, Leon Camier is eager to get into the racing arena and put all the positive improvements the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team has made this winter to good use in a competitive environment. Camier looked sharp during the four days of testing over the last week, leading the field on two of the days and finishing second on another. He will be looking to continue with his good run of form on the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 as he aims to start the season in style.
New signing Jules Cluzel will be making his racing debut for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team after his step-up from the 600cc class in the winter. Cluzel has had a baptism of fire to the Superbike class, including being injured last week in the test and requiring a small operation to repair the damage to his left elbow. The Frenchman is now fully fit and keen to get into the action of the one-litre class of racing. His test performances have shown that he has plenty of raw speed and a motivation to succeed at the highest level, and he will certainly be a rider to watch as the season progresses.
The Philip Island track is one of the fastest circuits in the world and possibly the most picturesque. Situated in the state of Victoria approximately 130km/s south-east of Melbourne, its amazing position perched high on the cliff tops overlooking the Pacific Ocean is breath taking. This stunning backdrop, allied with a superb series of turns that the track offers - and an ultra-fast straight which gives the riders the perception they are heading out to sea - makes any race at Phillip Island a must-see event on any calendar and one that the racers enjoy as much as the spectators.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki takes to the track for the first free practice session on Friday morning, with the first qualifying practice scheduled for later in the afternoon. Race one of the season will take place at 12.00hrs local time (01.00hrs GMT), with race two planned to get underway at 15.30hrs local time (04.30hrs GMT).
"I am looking forward to the first races, but I'm sure that it will be harder than it has been in testing. Once the pressure of a race weekend is on it makes a difference to everything, so it should be interesting. Hopefully everything will feel as it did during the tests, but with this track everything can change quite quickly. We've had four different wind directions in four days and it makes a big difference to the bike setting - we've needed to change gearing, suspension and many other things to make the bike work on the different days. The lap-times are always similar, but we have to swap it around a lot to get that result. We now have to see what the weekend brings us and hopefully we can have a steady time and get some decent results. The most important thing is to finish as close to the front as we possibly can, so that is the first target."
"I am excited about my first time in Supebike, because race weekend is really different compared to the tests. For me I think we can do something good at the first event, but I still have to learn a lot for the two long races. It will be a really different approach because I'm not used to doing two races, but I am excited because it looks like the team can achieve good things with Leon and I hope I can also get some good points. I am learning more and more about the bike every time I ride it and my feeling becomes better with every lap. It will be difficult because there are many good riders, but I will be trying to get some good results and gain more knowledge about how to ride the FIXI Crescent Suzuki Superbike."