2019 Phillip Island Saturday Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and some of the teams after qualifying and the first race of the 2019 WorldSBK season at Phillip Island:


Dominant Bautista wins WorldSBK Race One on his debut

Spanish rider takes breathtaking first WorldSBK win at Phillip Island, 15 s ahead of Rea and Melandri

The opening race of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was a classic and went the way of Rookie, Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), who set a scintillating pace and was able to clear off at the front of the pack from lap one. Bautista took the win in a convincing manner, winning by more than 15 seconds to become the first Rookie to win a WorldSBK race on his debut since Max Biaggi in 2007.

Off the line for the first time in 2019, Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) got a good start before being sandwiched into Turn 1 by Alvaro Bautista and early race leader and pole-sitter, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). However, Bautista soon blasted into the lead at Turn 3 and from there, built a gap, setting back-to-back fastest laps and before half race distance, the 34-year-old had a gap of over eight seconds.

The battle was then firmly on for second position, with Rea, Haslam and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Tom Sykes also had a good start to the race, with fifth place secured and chasing the leaders down hard. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was in sixth and made a rampant start, despite opting for a harder compound tyre choice. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was a big mover and shaker after one lap, up to seventh from 14th on the grid.

The race evolved and began to take shape, with the KRT WorldSBK pairing of Rea and Haslam exchanging position frequently, whilst Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes also battled. Razgatlioglu made massive progress through the field and was soon into fourth place with an exciting move into Turn 1. It wasn’t long until the first race crasher of the year occurred, with Leon Camier at Turn 2 (Moriwaki Althea HONDA Team).

With Leon Haslam managing to get ahead of Jonathan Rea and pull clear, disaster struck for the former WorldSBK runner-up, as he crashed out of second at Turn 4. ‘Pocket Rocket’ Haslam eventually finishing 15th. This left Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes at the front of the battle for second position, whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu and Tom Sykes battled hard. The BMW of Sykes struggling to keep Toprak’s Kawasaki behind it on the front straight but then managing to get back ahead at the hairpins.

Later in the race, Marco Melandri started to make big in-roads to Dutchman, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). It wasn’t long before the Italian made his move into sixth place and then chased down the riders ahead of him. Soon, he got ahead of Tom Sykes and then Razgatlioglu at Turn 2 with six laps left, releasing him into clear air to hunt Alex Lowes and the final spot on the podium.

At the flag and Alvaro Bautista romped home with 14.9s to spare, a remarkable achievement; one that echoed Anthony Gobert’s dominant victory at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in 2000. Jonathan Rea took second position and conceded the first race of the season for a second consecutive year. The battle for third saw a remarkable effort from Marco Melandri flourish, able to get ahead of Alex Lowes to take the final position on the podium.

Michael van der Mark took fifth place to make it three Yamaha riders inside the top five, whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu completed the top six ahead of Tom Sykes. Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was top German in eighth place ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) and a disconsolate Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) in tenth, some 27 seconds behind his victorious teammate.

With the first race complete for 2019, Alvaro Bautista breaks many records. He is the first Spanish Rookie to set a fastest lap at Phillip Island on a Ducati since Ruben Xaus in 2001, whilst also becoming the first Spanish rider to win a WorldSBK race since Jordi Torres in 2015 at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

P1 - Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)

“I am so happy to start my WorldSBK career this way. I missed the Superpole because I am still not used to work with the Superpole tyres but I was quite confident for the race. I tried to find my rhythm immediately and I found my pace from the beginning. The gap was increasing every lap, so I tried to manage the tyres and save them for the final part of the race. I am really happy and I want to thank Ducati and my team because they did an absolutely amazing job over the winter.”

P2 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

"It was a tough race, Bautista did a really good job and my congratulation goes to him. I had some issue with the rear tyre and my target was just to finish the race. It wasn’t really one of the most beautiful races because I was riding half gas the whole time but anyway, we finished second, we did the Superpole so I am really happy, and it is the best result we could have got today.”

P3 - Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK)

“I was struggling a bit with the new tyres at the beginning but after a few laps, the bike started working well. Yamaha and the team did an awesome job and I was riding very comfortable and just tried to keep my rhythm. Then I saw Lowes in front of me and I started to push hard. We passed each other many times on the final lap. Lowes didn’t give up but I wanted this podium so much! Thanks to all the team and the guys who have been working so hard for me”.


Sensational double debut win for Álvaro Bautista and the Panigale V4 R at Phillip Island, Chaz Davies tenth

Making his debut in the Superbike World Championship for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, Álvaro Bautista today achieved a truly extraordinary feat by winning the opening round of the 2019 season with the new Ducati Panigale V4 R. The last time a rookie rider won on his debut was in 2007 and what makes the 34-year-old Spanish rider's win even more remarkable is the fact that it was also the very first race for the bike. Starting from third on the grid after the Superpole, Bautista took control of the race on the opening lap, increased his lead every time around and took the chequered flag almost 15 seconds ahead of Jonathan Rea.

Team-mate Chaz Davies was in a bit of difficulty during the 22-lap race, the Welshman never being able to attack, also due to excessive rear tyre wear, which especially in the final stages forced him to slow his pace and he eventually finished in tenth place.

Tomorrow will see the other two SBK races on the schedule for this first round of the championship; the ten-lap Superpole Race at 12:00 (02:00 CET) and Race 2 at 15:00 (05:00 CET).

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st

“This victory has given me such incredible satisfaction and I’m really happy to have won my first World Superbike race! For sure we worked well throughout the winter months and this allowed us to prepare a competitive bike for the first round. Today I wasn’t able to set the pole because I still have to understand how the qualifying tyres work, as they are completely new for me. In the race however I was really confident because I knew I had an excellent pace, and my strategy was to take the lead as soon as possible and then keep a consistent pace. I could see that the gap was increasing lap after lap, even though I was trying to manage the tyre wear, especially towards the end of the race. I’m really happy and I’d like to thank Ducati, Aruba and the guys in my team, now we’ll see if we can keep this up.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 10th

“For me it was rather a disappointing race. Initially I was quite happy and after a good start I more or less maintained the pace with a decent group. Then I suddenly had such a massive drop of rear grip, so much so that I felt like I was riding in sand: we’ll have to look at the data to figure out why it was like that. I know how to manage a race at Phillip Island and I felt like I was relatively conservative for most of the race, but I hit trouble at two-thirds race distance and wasn’t expecting it. It shows we are inexperienced with this new bike; I had a pace that I thought could see us into the top 6 but that wasn’t the case today.”

Marco Zambenedetti (Ducati Corse Track Technical Coordinator)

“Today for sure we did a great job! We are seeing the results of everything we’ve done in the last few years and the fact that we believed in a new project that represents a historic turning-point for Ducati. We knew we could be competitive and we knew we had the technology and the working method to succeed. Álvaro has given us such enormous satisfaction by taking the V4 R to victory, and even though he is a very experienced rider, he is still a rookie in this category. Tomorrow we’ll try and also get Chaz into a condition where he can express his true potential, because we’re convinced that he can. We’ve still got a lot of work to do because despite this first win we’re only just at the beginning.”


Opening Race Second Place For Rea

Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam rode together for more than half race distance in the first WorldSBK race of the 2019 season, with Rea finishing in second place overall and Haslam falling after mid-race distance, but remounting to finish 15th.

In warm and dry conditions the first of three WorldSBK races at Phillip Island got underway with Rea in pole position and Haslam second.

Jonathan had set a new track best lap of 1’29.413 in the new-look one session Superpole qualifying period to raise his career total of Superpole wins to 17. Haslam’s full–time return to WorldSBK action continued in a positive way in practice, with his second place in Superpole just 0.211 seconds from his team-mate.

At the start of a dramatic WorldSBK opening race, in which class rookie Alvaro Bautista finally won by a large margin, Rea and Haslam rode together, setting a pace to conserve their tyres for a fight towards the end of a 22-lap contest.

Rea was passed by Haslam on lap four, and Leon was ahead for the bulk of the race until his slow speed slip off at turn four, losing the front at the apex of the corner. He remounted to score a championship point.

Entering the latter stages of the race Rea enjoyed an advantage to the battling riders behind; an advantage that would see him finish a comfortable second overall.

On Sunday the 24th of February there will be a ten-lap ‘sprint race’, which will not only score championship points, but also determine the final 22-lap race starting grid. The third and final race of the Phillip Island weekend will take place at 15.00, local time.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am very happy with my race, to be honest. Looking from Monday through Tuesday at the tests, I thought the best target we could hope for was second, and in the end we achieved that. We arrived at the end of the race with a good tyre and that was the main target today. Now we have 22 laps of race data we can really understand to make some improvements tomorrow. The race today was just to conserve the tyre. The target was to ride very smoothly and arrive at the end of the race. When you see Superpole you see our real potential, in the winter tests and during the season at ‘normal’ tracks.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “Honestly we did not know what happened when I slid off, because I was not pushing that hard, feeling quite relaxed. I was trying to conserve the tyres, and I know Johnny was as well. If I had pushed too hard or made a big mistake I would understand it, so we have to analyse the data to see why I lost the front there. I feel we could have gone as second faster per lap at any point, so we were conserving and conserving. We know we have good pace. Everything has been really good all weekend, and even my pace after the crash would still have been enough, so there are positives. But at the minute it is a hard one to take. In the sprint race tomorrow everybody is going to go that bit more all-out, and then we have the long race afterwards.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) challenged for a podium finish in race one at Phillip Island, and finished in sixth place. He was the second-best Independent Rider on the first day of race action in 2019. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 11th in his first Kawasaki race, and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) placed 14th.


Melandri and Yamaha on the Podium After Titanic Fight With Lowes

Race

The first race of the 2019 WorldSBK season at Phillip Island culminated in a titanic last lap battle between Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, Alex Lowes, and GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Marco Melandri, for the final podium position. The two riders swapped positions four times on the final lap alone, with Melandri eventually gaining the advantage with a pass at the final corner to claim third and to secure the GRT Yamaha team a first podium finish on their WorldSBK debut. Michael van der Mark declared himself satisfied with fifth position today, having had to contend with rapidly deteriorating grip in the closing stages of the race. Sandro Cortese, making his WorldSBK race debut in Phillip Island, finished in a creditable eighth position to ensure all four Yamahas were inside the top eight.

It was Lowes, starting from the second row of the grid, who made the running for Yamaha in the early stages, with the 28-year-old Briton embroiled in a heated battle for second place with reigning champion Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu, as Alvaro Bautista escaped at the front. A crash for Haslam at half race distance left Lowes and Rea alone to contest second place, until the pair were caught by Melandri with just two laps remaining.

Lowes, riding in some pain due to tendonitis in his left wrist, couldn’t hold off the initial challenge from Melandri, but struck back to pass the Italian twice on the final lap. However, it was Melandri who eventually got the better of the battle of the Yamahas, diving up the inside of Lowes on the entry to the final corner to claim third place and the final position on the podium.

Van der Mark adopted a cautious approach for the opening laps, in a bid to conserve his tyres for the latter stages of the race, but the 26-year-old upped his pace to try and stay with Melandri when the Italian passed him for seventh position just before half race distance. The two riders then managed to make up further places by passing first Razgatlioglu and then Sykes, after which van der Mark was forced to let Melandri go and settle for fifth position, having experienced a severe drop off in rear grip.

Cortese also made a cautious start to his first ever WorldSBK race and had dropped back to 11th position as the race approached the halfway point. The reigning Supersport World Champion then upped his pace significantly to progress up the order, eventually crossing the line in eighth position to achieve his goal of a top ten finish on his WorldSBK debut.

The four Yamaha riders will return to action at 12.30 tomorrow, when they will contest the first ever Tissot Superpole Race, a 10-lap sprint to decide the grid for tomorrow’s final 22-lap feature race, which gets underway at 15.00.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P4

"The guys did a good job with the bike, I had a better pace than I did during the test here, and I enjoyed it today. It's definitely good to be racing again. There were a few little issues holding me back today and, at the end, I had to dig really deep to try and pass Marco back. I couldn't have tried any harder than I did, but the grip dropped off a lot in the last four or five laps and I was a bit worried about the tyre not lasting the race, so I tried to be as smooth as I could. It was a shame to miss out on the podium in the final corner of the last lap but, overall, it was a decent start to the season."

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P5

"We knew it was going to be a long race today, and one in which we needed to take care of the tyres quite a lot. I went really careful the first few laps and found a really nice rhythm that didn't stress the tyres a lot. It was difficult, because you really want to push harder but you can't if you want to actually finish the race. I saw Marco had good pace when he passed me, so I stayed with him and was hoping to be in the fight for the podium at the end, which didn't happen. Anyway, we can be happy with fifth and the points today after struggling a bit in the test here and after what was a tricky tactical race."

Marco Melandri

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P3

"This was an amazing race for me because throughout the test and the weekend I was struggling a lot on a new tyre. But from the first few laps of the race I understood that I was feeling much better and even with the new tyre I was losing not so much from the top. I was sure that when the fuel load reduced and the tyre dropped down then I'd feel more comfortable. Once I passed van der Mark my pace was much better and my confidence was increasing every lap. When I arrived behind Alex he slowed a lot, I think he had problems with the rear tyre, and when I passed him he tried to push back and we had a crazy last lap, passing each other four times. I knew I was a bit faster than him in the final corner, but I couldn't wait for the exit like last year because it was very windy and it was difficult to keep the bike stable, so I changed strategy and went into the corner up the inside and very fast and I think I caught him by surprise. It's an awesome podium for me, for the team and for Yamaha and I'm so happy, but now we have to continue trying to improve."

Sandro Cortese

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P8

"Overall it's been a very good day. We had a good Superpole which meant we started from sixth on the grid and the race itself was the best lesson I've had since I jumped on the YZF-R1. I learnt a lot, but I missed out on the first few laps otherwise the result could have been better today. The goal was to finish inside the top ten and we did it, so on one side I'm happy to have done my job, but as a rider I'm always happier if the result is better. It was my first ever WorldSBK race, we took points home, and now I can't wait for the second race tomorrow."


Successful race debut for the new BMW S 1000 RR at the WorldSBK opener in Australia.

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team rider Tom Sykes claims seventh place in the first race at Phillip Island.

Team-mate Markus Reiterberger finishes in 13th position.

Dr. Markus Schramm: “We can be very satisfied with the result”.

Phillip Island. The new BMW S 1000 RR has completed its race debut – just three months, after the series version was presented to the world. At the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) season opener at Phillip Island (AUS), race one was held on Saturday. BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team rider Tom Sykes (GBR) finished seventh on his RR. His team-mate Markus Reiterberger crossed the line in 13th place.

Sykes secured fourth place on the grid in the Superpole qualifying on Saturday morning. In the race he rode in the top-six for a long time before slightly dropping back in the closing stages. Reiterberger started from 13th place. After losing a few positions at the start, he rode back into the points positions with his brand-new RR in the following laps.

Quotes after race one at Phillip Island.

Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad: “The first race was an immensely important milestone for us, and we can be very satisfied with the result. We knew that our new BMW S 1000 RR has a very good base for its use in WorldSBK but we certainly could not expect that both riders would score points in the first race. A big compliment to the entire team and colleagues at home in Munich and Berlin for the work done in the short development time. Nevertheless, we also saw today that we still have great potential.”

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We are quite happy with the weekend so far. We have shown in the sessions that we can be with the front-runners. On the other hand, you can also see where we are still losing time at the moment but we were aware of that when we came here after the few test days and we are working on it. As soon as we improve in this area, we’ll be in the mix. We are also pleased because two and a half months ago, we did not expect these results.”

Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “I think both riders did very well. We could not have expected much more from Tom. He was in a battle with the front guys. In a better situation we could have stayed in the tow, but eventually another rider and him messed each other up and he lost touch with the front guys. In my heart, I felt top six was a possibility; seventh is kind of where we expected to be. So for me, Tom had a great race. On the other side of the garage, Markus obviously suffered with qualifying and a poor start. I addition, he struggled with grip but he was in the company of some very good riders and finished only ten seconds behind his team-mate – with a much poorer grid position. So we can take a lot of hope from it and will make some changes overnight.”

Tom Sykes: “Consistently, we have been there in the mix so I am obviously quite surprised about the progress of the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. To be so competitive after just six test days is quite special. I think everybody has seen on track that we had some limitation on the straight line but the positive is that the BMW S 1000 RR is certainly doing its job in the corners. There’s no arguing that we have a very good base set-up in terms of chassis, electronics and brakes. The potential is definitely there. We have one race under our belt now; we keep on working and we keep on progressing. And I have to say: for the base start, I think we surprised quite a lot of people.”

Markus Reiterberger: “We continued to improve in morning practice, but it seems that we start struggling with grip as soon as temperatures rise. In the Superpole, we had an issue with a sensor but I also have to admit that I did not have that comfortable feeling and therefore didn’t have a good lap. Unfortunately my start was not the best, and on the first laps I tried to save the rear tyre for the distance. I succeeded, but overall it was just not possible to finish further ahead. Position 13 is not what I personally expected, but for BMW, finishing seventh was a good result. I think there is still a lot of potential in me and in the bike that we can exploit. We will keep working and I’m sure we will succeed.”


P 12 in Race 1 for Eugene Laverty...but the potential is higher!

Saturday started really good on the Phillip Island circuit for Team Go Eleven. During Free Practices 3 a very fast Laverty made one second better than the lap time of yesterday afternoon, closing in top 5. A big step forward done, result of the great work of our guys prolonged until late at night; they operated on balancing the bike, improving weight transfer. The constant work of the Bitubo technicians gave to Eugene a very comfortable to ride bike!

Free Practice 3: P 5 1.30.430 +0.645

In Superpole, the new format made his debut: no longer two different sessions, but a unique one 25 minutes long! Started at 12.15, the temperature of the asphalt has risen significantly, causing unexpected problems of loss of grip on the rear. Three tires used, one of which qualifying, but the lap time has not improved compared to the morning. Eugene has, therefore, lined up in the fourth row.

Superpole: P 11 1.30.730 +1.317

Race 1 of WorldSBK made history: Alvaro Bautista, riding the new Panigale V4-R, won the race, stopping the dominance of 11 in a row of wins branded Rea-Kawasaki. Congratulations to the whole Ducati racing department!

The race of Team Go Eleven was compromised by a problem in the starting grid: the power generator normally used to keep the tyres at temperature has turned off, leaving the Pirelli to cool. To comply with the regulation and not incur penalties, the pressure above 1.6 (minimum limit imposed by the promoter) was maintained. With the passing of the laps, the temperature of the rear tire has risen, as well as the pressure, going well over the 2 bar, very high levels that have caused a total loss of grip.

Eugene Laverty, however, immediately started well, coming back to some positions and sticking to Marco Melandri. After the first two laps the performances, however, have worsened and for our rider it was a defensive race, still managing to finish close to the official Ducati of Chaz Davies!

Eugene Laverty (Race 1 - P 12):

“We have reason for optimism today after the performance in practice this morning. We posted the 5th fastest time and I was able to make a very consistent rhythm. Unfortunately during the race there was a big problem, due to the power generator, with the rear tyre pressure and so I had no rear grip. Our potential was much higher today but anyway, tomorrow we have another opportunity. This is the beauty of the World Superbike Championship.”

On Sunday Team Go Eleven will have the opportunity to improve, testing for the first time the Superpole Race, 10 laps sprint race that will award points to the first 10 riders in the standings and will set the starting grid for race 2!


Camier crashes in Race 1 while fighting for the top ten, Kiyonari sixteenth

The first race of the 2019 Superbike World Championship took place this afternoon at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia. Having qualified tenth in the morning’s Superpole, rider Leon Camier started the race from the fourth row of the grid, with the aim of making up ground and demonstrating the kind of pace that had allowed him to finish the free practice sessions very close to the top five.

Unfortunately, on lap nine of the twenty-two lap race, and having set his fastest lap of 1’31.782 that saw him pass Cortese, Laverty and Davies and move up to ninth place, the Brit suffered a crash at turn 2. The incident prevented him from improving further and put a premature end to his race.

On his return to the Superbike category, Ryuichi Kiyonari qualified in 17th and crossed the line sixteenth in Race 1, just missing out on the points zone.

Ryuichi Kiyonari 23

16th

“The positive thing is that we finished the race, the not so positive is our position of course. I was really aiming to finish inside the points zone today. Anyway, we have gained experience and have a lot of data that we can use in order to try and improve tomorrow. After today’s race, I better understand how to manage the tyres, especially towards the end because today I struggled a lot there and couldn’t defend my position in the final stages of the race.”

Leon Camier 2

DNF

“The crash honestly is hard to understand because I didn’t do anything different there, and I just lost the front through turn 2. It’s frustrating as I was feeling really good on the bike. I felt it was working even better than I expected it to in the race, and I definitely had the pace of the guys I was running with. I had just passed Chaz (Davies) and was catching Melandri and Van Der Mark, and my pace was pretty decent. Starting from tenth on the grid makes it more difficult of course, and it wasn’t easy to pass Chaz, but I think that ultimately I could have been in the group with Marco (Melandri). I don’t know how the tyre would have lasted, but I don’t think it would have been too bad. Anyway, now we need to concentrate on tomorrow.”


Delbianco makes his Superbike debut at Phillip Island

Phillip Island (Australia), Saturday 23 February 2019

The opening race of the 2019 Superbike World Championship took place at the Phillip Island track in Australia this afternoon, and it proved to be a baptism by fire for the Althea MIE Racing team and rider Alessandro Delbianco, who crossed the line seventeenth in his first ever Superbike race.

Superpole: out on track for the 25-minute Superpole session, Delbianco and his technicians immediately put in the qualifying tyre. Having completed one lap (1’32.135), the Italian suffered an innocuous crash at turn 9 that saw him return briefly to the garage. Back on track for the final phase, the Italian completed another clean lap but was unable to improve on his previous time. He therefore closed the qualifying in eighteenth position, which translated into a sixth-row start for the 2019 season’s opening race.

SBK - Race 1: from the sixth row of the grid, the Althea MIE Racing rider maintained eighteenth place throughout the opening stages. Earning one position towards the mid-race point, the young Italian did not give up and, despite a drop in tyre performance in the later stages, he continued to push to the line. Delbianco thus closed his first ever Superbike race in seventeenth position.

The team will be back on track tomorrow for the Tissot Superpole ‘sprint’ race and the second 22-lap Superbike race, taking place respectively at 12pm and 3pm local time.

Alessandro Delbianco

“Today’s race was my first ever in Superbike, and the first time I put together so many consecutive laps. It was tough but I know we can do a lot better; what we’ve done today serves as a good starting point. I’ll try to use everything I’ve learned until now, both in Superpole and the race, during tomorrow’s races and the subsequent rounds of course. All we can do is continue to work step by step, and we will gradually improve I am sure.”


WorldSSP: Federico Caricasulo takes first Tissot-Superpole of 2019 ahead of Krummenacher

Italian rider takes the pole position just 0.079 s ahead of his teammate at Phillip Island

The first WorldSSP Tissot Superpole went to Italian rider Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team), who put in a fantastic lap time with two minutes to go. Teammate Randy Krummenacher was leading much of the session but was pipped by Caricasulo, whilst also left the pit lane too late to respond. The BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team have been the dominant force in the World Supersport Championship throughout testing and the opening two days of the Yamaha Finance Australian Round. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) put in a good performance, the former WorldSSP Championship runner-up coming home in third position.

Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) heads up the second row whilst teammate Federico Fuligni was impressive in his debut Tissot Superpole session, finishing fifth. Completing row two was Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing), who showed much promise in the Free Practice sessions but couldn’t capitalise on his pace when it counted.

Starting at the head of row three is Rookie, Hector Barbera (Team Toth by Willirace). The Spaniard having a slight altercation with Randy Krummenacher on circuit in the closing five minutes. Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished in eighth whilst completing the third row was 2017 WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).

Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays) completed the top ten, making it all four manufacturers inside the top ten for the 16 lap, flag-to-flag encounter on Sunday.

Pole position - Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)

“It has been a very good race weekend for us so far. We did a good qualifying and I am quite satisfied with my lap time. But what really matters is to be ready for the race tomorrow. We worked a lot during the test and yesterday to increase the tyre life and we’ve been practicing a lot the flag-to-flag. It will not be an easy weekend for anybody. But I think that we are ready for tomorrow.”


Caricasulo Secures Pole for WorldSSP Opener in Phillip Island

Qualifying

Evan Bros. Bardahl Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Federico Caricasulo, will start the opening race of the 2019 Supersport World Championship from pole position, after topping the timesheet in today’s Superpole shootout in Phillip Island.

Randy Krummenacher will start from second on the grid tomorrow. Krummenacher was fastest at Phillip Island yesterday but twice got baulked by slower riders during the 25-minute Superpole session this afternoon and was unable to surpass the time of his Bardahl Yamaha teammate.

GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Jules Cluzel, will round out the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s 16 lap race, which will include a mandatory pit stop. Riders are free to choose when to do their pit-stop, under the condition that no tyre is used for more than 10 laps. Cluzel’s GMT94 Yamaha teammate, Corentin Perolari, will start from the fifth row of the grid after qualifying 14th today.

Thomas Gradinger was the highest placed of the three Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP riders in sixth position, with Isaac Viñales 11th and Loris Cresson in 19th.


THE FIRST WORLD SUPERSPORT ROUND IS UNDERWAY

KRUMMENACHER, A FRONTRUNNER AT THE PHILLIP ISLAND TRACK, SCORES SECOND PLACE ON THE GRID.

Phillip Island (Australia) 23 February 2019

The Supersport World Championship is officially underway, round one of the 2019 season now in progress at the Phillip Island track in Australia. The 4445-metre track is made up of twelve turns, seven left-handers and five right-handers. As in previous years, the main issue that riders and teams find themselves dealing with at the track relates to tyre wear. Race direction have therefore taken the decision, together with the Pirelli technicians, to run the Supersport race according to the “flag to flag” rule, which means that all riders have to stop for a mandatory tyre change between lap six and ten, the overall race reduced to sixteen laps in length.

Krummenacher was the undisputed star during testing and qualifying. The Swiss rider dominated yesterday’s sessions, stopping the clock on 1’32’777 and rounding out day one in first position. Today, at 12.55 local time (GMT +11), Krummenacher was back on track for the Superpole, a session in which he scored a second-place finish and, as a result, the second spot on the starting grid for tomorrow’s race, which will get underway at 1.15pm local time.

Randy Krummenacher is pleased with the work completed with his team and is confident ahead of the race.

#RK21: “we’ve worked hard over the last days. We’ve continued to improve, and lap times have been consistently fast. I was strong during the tests and yesterday’s free practices and know I have good pace for the race. The Superpole didn’t go as I hoped or as we expected, but it’s fine. I’ll start from second on the grid and will try to give it my all and open the season in the best possible way. The introduction of the “flag to flag” does not just have to do with the safety of us riders, but it also adds extra adrenaline for both the riders and public. I can’t wait to get out on track tomorrow and hope to score a good result for my team”.


Okubo Eighth And Mahias Ninth After Superpole

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Lucas Mahias took part in the first new-look WorldSSP Superpole of the 2019 season at Phillip island in Australia today. Hikari went eighth fastest and Mahias ninth.

Hikari Okubo put in a strong showing to be top Kawasaki rider in the new look single session Superpole, in which all the riders compete for the best lap time in one 25 minute session. Their finishing position now confirms their grid position for the race directly.

Mahias, who is still learning the intricacies of his Kawasaki after several years competing for a different manufacturer, was held back in one of his attempts to set a fast lap, when another rider got in his way.

Lucas, the 2017 WorldSSP champion, was eventually ninth on the grid, meaning he will start Sunday’s two-part flag-to-flag race alongside his team-mate Hikari, from the third row.

Sunday’s WorldSSP race at the 4.445km long Phillip Island circuit will be held in two parts, under flag-to-flag rules, after concerns emerged about tyre life over a straight 18-lap contest. All riders must now enter the pits in the middle of the race to take on a new rear tyre and then race to the chequered flag from that point onwards.

Hikari Okubo, stated: “It was a very risky Superpole because a lot of riders stopped in front of me when I came up behind them. I am the fastest Kawasaki rider, and I am relatively satisfied with what I did in Superpole. The most important thing is that my race pace is good. So my target for tomorrow is the podium, even if it will be difficult. Thank you to the team for the good work.”

Lucas Mahias stated: “It is a difficult moment for me because I cannot push as hard as I would like. I tried my best in Superpole but I was not able to make a fast lap time. Me and the team are working hard but at the moment it is not coming as quickly as we would like. We will keep working toward the race tomorrow.”

Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) finished 17th in Superpole, and regular rider Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 21st. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) placed 22nd, with the next challenge being the race itself on Sunday the 24th of February.


CIA Landlord Insurance Honda targets the top ten in Australia

Posted on 23rd February 2019

Starting from 12th and 13th positions on the grid respectively, Jules Danilo and Peter Sebestyen will target the top ten in tomorrow’s 16-lap World Supersport race at Philip Island in Australia.

Frenchman Danilo made a step up posting a time of 1’34.052 on his first run in the Superpole qualifying session today and will start his first ever World Supersport race from the fourth row of the grid.

Danilo said: “I am quite happy with how qualifying went because I have been struggling a bit all weekend to get to grips with the bike. Not with how it is set up but with having to ride it how it should be ridden and in qualifying I think I understood a few things and it feels really nice. I think there are a few small things we can improve for tomorrow but today I’m satisfied with P12. I know I could have done better and in fact in my two fast laps I made two big mistakes which cost me some time so that’s a shame but it will come, it’s been a positive day. Tomorrow it’s going be a tricky race, it won’t be won on pure speed because we have a pit stop so there is a lot of time to make or lose there and we will try to get that perfect. Thanks to the team.”

Teammate, Hungarian Peter Sebestyen was unable to improve on his time set in the morning’s Free Practice session when he encountered traffic on the 4.445km Australian circuit and heads up the fifth row of the grid for tomorrow’s season opener.

Sebestyen said: “I’m a little bit disappointed after qualifying. In the morning we improved a lot and I felt that I could improve more in qualifying. Everything was good and I felt good on the bike I just made mistakes and got into traffic so my two best laps just weren’t fast enough to qualify where we should be. I still feel confident about the race tomorrow because the bike is ok and I think I can do a good job on the tyres. We have to focus a lot on constant and clean laps and also on the pit stop but I think the team will make a good job so I am hoping for the top ten tomorrow.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “We have to say we’re a little bit disappointed because we didn’t maximise our potential there. We have good race pace and Jules was up to 34.0 but then he couldn’t quite find the extra couple of tenths that would make all the difference to go to the top ten. You can see from sixth to tenth is half a second so he is in that fight. He is confident of that so we need to make a good pit stop which I’m very confident of doing so we will look forward to the race tomorrow. On Peter’s first run he got in traffic with a bad group so he didn’t improve his time, in fact he was nearly a half a second or more slower. His second run again he was blocked by a load of riders looking for a tow, this needs looking into but that only messed up one lap. That probably disappointed him and then he wasn’t able to raise his game and do the time he is more than capable of in the 33s. So both riders have the potential to challenge for a really good result tomorrow. We need to look for a good start and do a good pit stop to start our season in a good way.”


Source: 
Round Number: 
1
2019

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