Tom Sykes took top honors on the second day of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island, the Yorkshireman just nipping ahead of Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa in the early stages of the morning session to set the fastest lap of the two-day test. Though Checa was fastest again in the afternoon session, the 2011 World Champion could not get under the time set by Sykes, falling just four thousandths short.
Jakub Smrz also found a burst of speed on Tuesday morning, the Effenbert Liberty Ducati rider taking over a second off his time from Monday to end the test with the 3rd fastest time, a tenth of a second ahead of Honda's Johnny Rea. Aprilia's Max Biaggi took 5th spot after the two days of testing, just under four tenths slower than Sykes, while Marco Melandri heads into the first round of the WSBK season with the 6th fastest time. Melandri failed to improve his time on Tuesday, falling just a few hundredths short of the fastest lap he set on Monday.
Newcomer Davide Giugliano, teammate to Althea's Carlos Checa, made an impressive debut, ending the test in 7th, just ahead of Leon Camier on the Crescent Fixi Suzuki, the Englishman finding some extra speed after a tough start on Monday, cutting the deficit to the leaders by over half a second. Sylvain Guintoli took 9th spot on the Effenbert Liberty Ducati, while Leon Haslam leaves the two-day test as 10th fastest, despite only having ridden for part of one of the four testing sessions, falling and fracturing his right lower leg on Monday morning. Haslam is scheduled to have an operation on Thursday to have screws inserted to fix the fracture in place. His participation in Sunday's race is still uncertain; a press release from the team stated that they would only make a decision once the surgery has been completed.
The World Superbike paddock leaves the last test ahead of Sunday's season opener at Phillip Island with the order from last week's private test confirmed. Sykes and Checa topped that test too, with Max Biaggi not far behind, and Johnny Rea also close. When fit, Leon Haslam looks much more competitive on the BMW than he was last season, while Marco Melandri is still not completely settled on the S1000RR, despite being capable of lapping fast on the bike. Ducati have confirmed their tradition of bringing on talent through the Superstock class, as David Giugliano's times appears to demonstrate; the progress of the 22-year-old Italian will be interesting to watch, and should he turn out to be as competitive as he promises, it will add yet another Italian to the ranks of riders dominating World Superbikes. Despite not having a bike that is starting to show its age, the Crescent Suzuki team have made good progress, working closely with Yoshimura, and though the bike may struggle at some tracks, Leon Camier and - when he returns from injury - John Hopkins should be capable of a few upsets.
The WSBK and WSS riders and teams now have a couple of days to catch their collective breath at Phillp Island, before the season commences on Friday morning. At that point, the 2012 motorcycle racing season will officially get underway. The long wait will be over.
Official times after both days of testing for the World Superbike class:
|1||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:31.648|
|2||7||C. CHECA||Ducati 1098R||1:31.652||0.004||0.004|
|3||96||J. SMRZ||Ducati 1098R||1:31.800||0.152||0.148|
|4||65||J. REA||Honda CBR1000RR||1:31.913||0.265||0.113|
|5||3||M. BIAGGI||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1:32.034||0.386||0.121|
|6||33||M. MELANDRI*||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.232||0.584||0.198|
|7||34||D. GIUGLIANO||Ducati 1098R||1:32.319||0.671||0.087|
|8||2||L. CAMIER||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:32.320||0.672||0.001|
|9||50||S. GUINTOLI||Ducati 1098R||1:32.347||0.699||0.027|
|10||91||L. HASLAM*||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.397||0.749||0.050|
|11||17||J. LASCORZ||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:32.540||0.892||0.143|
|12||84||M. FABRIZIO||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.605||0.957||0.065|
|13||59||N. CANEPA||Ducati 1098R||1:32.746||1.098||0.141|
|14||4||H. AOYAMA||Honda CBR1000RR||1:32.910||1.262||0.164|
|15||121||M. BERGER||Ducati 1098R||1:32.911||1.263||0.001|
|16||86||A. BADOVINI||BMW S1000 RR||1:32.948||1.300||0.037|
|17||87||L. ZANETTI||Ducati 1098R||1:33.136||1.488||0.188|
|18||19||C. DAVIES||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1:33.358||1.710||0.222|
|19||44||D. SALOM||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:33.385||1.737||0.027|
|20||67||B. STARING||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:33.418||1.770||0.033|
|21||25||J. BROOKES||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:33.623||1.975||0.205|
|22||18||M. AITCHISON||BMW S1000 RR||1:34.169||2.521||0.546|
|23||35||R. DE ROSA||Honda CBR1000RR||1:34.341||2.693||0.172|
* Times set on Monday. Haslam set his time before crashing heavily and fracturing his ankle, and did not ride again after Monday morning. Melandri did not improve his time on Tuesday; his fastest lap was a 1:32.232, 0.079 slower than his time on Monday.