Less than a week after the private test concluded at the Phillip Island circuit, the World Superbike riders were back in action again on Monday, for the first day of the official preseason test ahead of this weekend's WSBK season opener. Carlos Checa picked up where he left off, topping the timesheets in both the morning and afternoon sessions, and immediately within a tenth of a second of the fastest time the Althea Ducati rider set here last week.
Challenging Checa was the Italian Armada who pushed him for the title in 2011. Aprilia's Max Biaggi led the way, getting within a couple of tenths of the Spaniard, while Marco Melandri and his team at BMW clearly learned a lot at last week's test, the Italian posting the 3rd fastest time just under three tenths off the time of Checa. Ten Kate Honda's Johnny Rea - resplendent in a new Honda livery - was a little further behind in 4th, the Ulsterman having tested here privately back in January, while the unfortunate Leon Haslam took the 5th fastest time, though his day ended during the first session, after the BMW rider crashed heavily in the final corner, and taken to hospital with an ankle injury. Haslam was later diagnosed with a fractured heel and a damaged tibia, Haslam is currently waiting to have a screw inserted in his leg, in the hope of being fit enough to race this weekend.
Tom Sykes, who had been so strong in last week's test, could not build on his results, the Kawasaki rider ending the day in 6th, half a second behind Checa, and ahead of a flotilla of privateer Ducatis, with Sylvain Guintoli leading another returnee, Niccolo Canepa, and Guintoli's Effenbert Liberty teammate Jakub Smrz. Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz rounded out the top 10.
Testing continues on Tuesday.
Combined results of the morning and afternoon sessions:
|1||7||C. CHECA||Ducati 1098R||1:31.947|
|2||3||M. BIAGGI||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1:32.132||0.185||0.185|
|3||33||M. MELANDRI||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.232||0.285||0.100|
|4||65||J. REA||Honda CBR1000RR||1:32.379||0.432||0.147|
|5||91||L. HASLAM||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.397||0.450||0.018|
|6||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:32.465||0.518||0.068|
|7||50||S. GUINTOLI||Ducati 1098R||1:32.768||0.821||0.303|
|8||59||N. CANEPA||Ducati 1098R||1:32.836||0.889||0.068|
|9||96||J. SMRZ||Ducati 1098R||1:32.848||0.901||0.012|
|10||17||J. LASCORZ||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:33.005||1.058||0.157|
|11||2||L. CAMIER||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:33.104||1.157||0.099|
|12||84||M. FABRIZIO||BMW S1000 RR||1:33.141||1.194||0.037|
|13||121||M. BERGER||Ducati 1098R||1:33.246||1.299||0.105|
|14||34||D. GIUGLIANO||Ducati 1098R||1:33.366||1.419||0.120|
|15||4||H. AOYAMA||Honda CBR1000RR||1:33.479||1.532||0.113|
|16||87||L. ZANETTI||Ducati 1098R||1:33.566||1.619||0.087|
|17||67||B. STARING||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:33.704||1.757||0.138|
|18||44||D. SALOM||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:33.812||1.865||0.108|
|19||86||A. BADOVINI||BMW S1000 RR||1:34.234||2.287||0.422|
|20||19||C. DAVIES||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1:34.303||2.356||0.069|
|21||35||R. DE ROSA||Honda CBR1000RR||1:34.400||2.453||0.097|
|22||25||J. BROOKES||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:34.667||2.720||0.267|
|23||18||M. AITCHISON||BMW S1000 RR||1:35.223||3.276||0.556|
The bike is ageing piece of kit, but it certainly remains a great all rounder. Outgunned for power, and the new mass penalty doesn't seem to have knocked its nose too askew in the right hands. Good to see Canepa doing well. He's a mass penalty all on his own.
sad to see no yamahas on the timing sheets. Also, it's no surprise to have Melandri already up to speed on the BMW.
Sorry if I missed this in an article elsewhere, but where is Laverty??
In reply to Laverty? by backmarker61
Found it... injured in a 315kph crash, fractured right hand
Laverty: “Brake pads got knocked back after a wobble entering turn one at 315kph. No brakes so I had to put the bike down - big ole crash”
RIDER, OR Bike?
Once again we have a situation where one Ducati rider is consistently fast. Take Checa out of the mix and they'd be sixth, seventh and eighth, which at least is a while lot better than the MotoGP effort 2007 to 2010 when one bloke did all the work and three others took turns fighting over the last three grid spots. Also, let's not forget Carlos is now 40-years-old. A fine Spanish vintage, it seems. Top bloke too. On the BMW front, looks as if they are still searching for a good consistent set-up. High-siding in turn 12 is not a good look - very few ever do that. It's pretty darn fast in there so Leon is perhaps lucky (although he won't think that with a broken ankle less than a week before the first race).
The Superbike lap record at Phillip Island stands to Troy Corser at 1m 31.826s , set on a Yamaha YZF-R1 way back in 2007. The track has got a lot bumpier in the interval and is due for a re-surface in December, so the times the top men are doing now are probably more than comparable to those of five years ago.
In reply to RIDER, OR Bike? by TheBaron
That's true about the one bloke, but ...
if it wasn't for Biaggi, Apilia would be 20th, and if it wasn't for Rea Honda would be 15th. No doubt the factory Ducati is a little more special than the privateers bikes (and Max's Aprilia more special than Chas' ?) but I still believe it is mainly down to the rider. I'm sure the younger riders will congratulate them heartily when Checa (and Max) finally hang up their leathers.