Press releases from some of the teams after the first day of testing at Phillip Island:
Dramatic start ‘Down Under’ for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki began its official FIM Superbike World Championship test at Phillip Island in dramatic style, with Alex Lowes topping the times and team mate Randy de Puniet suffering a huge crash after setting the early pace.
A steady start to Monday’s proceedings saw Lowes conclude the morning session in ninth place before working through a number of test settings as the afternoon progressed. As track temperatures rose from 29 to 37°C between sessions, the British racer put his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R safely into the 1.31 bracket before a 1’31.332, with just minutes to go, claimed the day’s top spot by over 0.3 of a second.
Reacquainting himself quickly with his Suzuki Superbike, and the Australian track, Randy de Puniet initially held the fastest time for much of the morning - with a 1’32.402 set on his seventh lap. However, with less than five minutes remaining, a massive high-side at turn 11 brought out the red flags and a premature end to the Frenchman’s day. X-rays revealed no breaks, but severe bruising and swelling resulted in his withdrawal from the afternoon’s test.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki return to testing action at 09:10hrs local time tomorrow morning (22:10GMT Monday night) for a further two, two hours sessions at the Victoria circuit.
“It’s been a difficult day and I’m quite surprised to be fastest. We’ve had some issues to work through but the guys have worked really hard and done a fantastic job. We’re approaching this year differently to last, as I almost ruined my season before the first race last year by crashing, but this year I’m determined not to do the same again – obviously mistakes can happen but we’re working well. We’ve got some good information and feedback from today and I didn’t get frustrated when we had problems early on, I kept calm and went quite fast at the end. We’ve got a lot of work still to do – someone asked my expectations for Sunday, but I’m just looking forward to tomorrow morning, doing my best and then we’ll see what happens for the race weekend. Big credit to the guys and I really hope Randy is ok. Lez (my crew chief from last year) really helped this afternoon when we had some problems and that just shows the team we have this year. We might be one of the smaller factory set ups but we are very strong and I think we are going to do a good job.”
Randy de Puniet:
“The test started well today, and I was in first position for most of this morning. My feeling with the bike was very good, we did some slight adjustments and I was confident working with new tyres to get a good feeling for the race. Five minutes before the end of the session I was P4 and I went out on fresh tyres with the plan to improve my lap-time, as my best was from my eighth lap on the tyre. On my second timed-lap I had a massive high-side at turn 11, I flew very high and came down hard on my back, with a lot of pain, it doesn’t look like anything is broken but it is very swollen so I decided not to ride this afternoon as it was impossible and we will see how it feels tomorrow morning. I hope to make some laps in the morning and if not, I will try again in the afternoon. I’m disappointed because it was a good start, but the most important thing is nothing is broken and I need to be ready for Friday and especially for Sunday. The bike is good and Alex has done the fastest time this afternoon so I think we can be confident and I hope I can be in the best condition for the race weekend.”
Phillip Island – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Official Test Day One:
1. ALEX LOWES (VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI) 1’31.332: 2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) 1’31.663: 3. Leon Haslam (Aprilia) 1’31.692: 4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’31.753: 5. Jordi Torres (Aprilia) 1’31.783: 8. RANDY DE PUNIET (VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI) 1’32.402:
KRT Riders Well Placed After First Day Of Official Australian Tests
Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes were second and fourth respectively on the time sheets after the first day of a two-day test at Phillip Island in Australia as they made their early preparations for the first round of the year next Sunday.
Despite a host of changes to the technical rules this season the top riders’ lap times were similar with the previous configuration of more powerful Superbike machinery after only a single day on track, with more improvements still possible tomorrow.
Today Rea set a 1’31.663 in the morning session while Sykes posted a 1’31.753 in the afternoon.
A red flag just before the end of the afternoon session lost all the riders some track time but there was a final ten-minute period of action, which saw Rea displaced from his previous leading position, despite not going for an all-out lap time at this stage.
The official Ninja ZX-10R riders will have just one more day of testing to complete before the season begins in earnest, with the first practice sessions for the opening round being held on Friday 20th February.
Jonathan Rea: “We were working set-up for this track because I have not had the chance to ride the Ninja ZX-10R here before. We just arrived with our Jerez set-up, something we knew, but the set-up for this track is quite different. We got an understanding of the bike again and everything still feels quite new. We changed the balance and everything is going in the right way. We have not been thinking of lap times and when I put a new tyre in this afternoon we were not able to give it a good go. We have been consistent in both sessions and I was one of the fastest guys toward the end, until the session got red flagged. Then everybody went out again on new tyres for the last ten minutes.”
Tom Sykes: “Today has been productive and we have been working in the right direction. We set an acceptable lap time and we were just working on some parameters of the Ninja ZX-10R, getting rid of some variables before we arrive in the race weekend. At the moment we are relatively happy and very relaxed. It is quite windy and that definitely has some influence on the handling of the bike, but it is always the same here in Pi. That has given us something to consider for race weekend but it is the same for everybody. For the position in terms of lap times I am happy enough. We used very minimal numbers of tyres and concentrated on our set-up, continuing on from our winter test plan.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team on track at Phillip Island for the final pre-season tests
Phillip Island (Australia), Monday 16 February 2015 – The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team has completed day one of a two-day test session at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island. Chaz Davies improves, while unfortunately a serious crash for Davide Giugliano may compromise his race weekend.
In warm and sunny conditions (air temperature 24°C, track 37°C), official riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano continued with the ‘winter’ testing programme, working to set-up their Ducati Panigale R bikes to suit the Australian track. In the morning’s session, Giugliano and Davies closed in third and seventh place respectively with a time of 1’31.948 for the Italian and a 1’32.512 for the Welshman.
During the first exit made at the start of the second session, Giugliano unfortunately suffered a highside while exiting turn 10. Having taken a blow to the lumbar region of his back, the doctors at the medical centre decided to transfer him to Alfred Hospital in Melbourne to carry out a CAT scan. Unfortunately the scan has revealed two small fractures of the L1 and L2 vertebrae, not serious but which may prevent Davide from competing this coming weekend. Tomorrow a specialist at Alfred Hospital will see Giugliano to make a decision and determine the length of the Italian rider’s recovery period.
Giugliano and Davies completed 30 and 50 laps respectively during the four hours of track time available to them. Having missed almost the entire afternoon session due to the crash, Giugliano closed this first day of testing in sixth position (1’31.948), while Davies improved on this morning’s performance with a fastest time of 1’32.114 which positioned him seventh.
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team will return to the track tomorrow morning with Chaz Davies for the second and last day of official testing.
Quotes at the end of day one of testing:
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #34)
“I’m very upset about this afternoon’s crash because things had been going very well. I had good feeling with the bike by the end of session one and I was able to lap with consistently fast times. It was a bad fall and this evening’s CAT has unfortunately revealed two tiny fractures, so I’m really worried that this might compromise my first races of the 2015 season.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7)
“Things are moving in the right direction. We’ve introduced a new component here, a slightly different swing-arm, and so we’ve focused on setting up the bike around this new part. We haven’t concentrated on lap times, as today’s work has been centred around establishing set-up with a view to race distance. We started to see some progress later in the day but there’s still more to do. Tomorrow we’ll continue to work on the chassis in order to improve rear tyre life, something that’s always critical here at Phillip Island. Once we’ve sorted a few things out we’ll be doing a long-run to see exactly what point we’re at…”
CONFIDENT START FOR GINO IN AUSTRALIA; WILL MISS SECOND DAY OF TEST
CIA LANDLORDS INSURANCE HONDA’S Gino Rea finished a promising fifth in the first day of testing at Phillip Island in Australia on his return to the World Supersport Championship after a three-year absence. He will miss tomorrow’s second test day as he goes for surgery to remove a screw from his right foot.
A screw in Gino’s right foot started working its way loose and nearly broke through the skin during today’s test. A result of a crash at Sepang in 2014, Gino will now have surgery to get the screw removed rather than ride tomorrow. It means he will be fully fit for the start of the opening round on Friday at Phillip Island.
Gino said: “It feels good to be back in World Supersport and it’s been a productive first day given the circumstances with my foot.
“I could only do a limited run of laps. Even wearing a boot 2.5-sizes too big, it was still rubbing on the screw. I had to be so careful through the right-handers and couldn’t move my weight on the bike the way I wanted to either.
“Lap times were good as we didn’t chuck tyres at the bike and just worked on the base setting, clutch and electronics. It’s definitely the best WSS bike I’ve ever ridden.
“I am working on my self and learning the CIA Landlords Insurance Honda. I am comfortable with the lap times and will be happy to get the screw removed so I can be fully fit and ready for the opening round. It only started to work its way loose over the last couple of days.”
Riccardo Russo took ninth place on his CIA Landlords Insurance Honda, working on race set up. Martin Cardenas was 17th and Kieran Clarke 21st as they got up to speed with their new race bikes.
There is another day of testing tomorrow before the opening round at the same Phillip Island circuit starts on Friday with practice, followed by practice and qualification on Saturday and then the race at 1310 local time on Sunday 22nd February.
CIA Landlords Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Gino lost some time this morning with a technical problem and then struggled with the screw coming loose in his foot when on track. He has made the right decision to get it removed tomorrow because it will give him much more mobility for the opening round.
“We are really happy with his pace given the issues challenging him today and it is clear he has the speed to race at the front. We are all confident he can compete for the top three this weekend.
“Riccardo, Martin and Kieran all got to grips with their 2015 bikes today and will be able to progress tomorrow.”