2015 Chang Thailand World Superbike Friday Roundup: New Track Is Hot

World Superbike added a new circuit for 2015, the Chang Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. The track was designed by Herman Tilke for a wealthy Thai businessman, and former politician, Newin Chidchob who wants to bring Formula One to the country. The track is next to New I-Mobile Stadium, known as Thunder Castle, the stadium for the football team Buriram United, also owned by Chidchob. His aim is to make Buriram the destination in Thailand for sport, as it doesn't have the beaches or mountains that other tourism regions have.

The circuit is 4.554km long and has a 1km straight after the first turn, with a shorter straight to bring the riders back to the very physical infield, and then presents them with a series of turns that eventually bring them back to the start/finish straight. There are twelve turns, seven right, five left, and the track is very flat and wide, ideal for open-wheel cars and very safe for motorbikes, with very little elevation change and large run-offs.

The main grandstand is overlooking the grid, with the garages and facilities underneath it. Most of the track can be seen from the main grandstand, the second one on the kilometre long straight and the third leading into the last turn.

The weather was hot, peaking at 39°C, throughout the Friday sessions, but not as humid as it was feared to be. Attendance was low, but promises to be much higher on Sunday, with the event being heavily promoted around the country, and with very cheap tickets for locals.

Suzuki's Alex Lowes was the fastest man of the day, learning the track quickly, although not as quickly as Jonathan Rea who was consistently the top rider almost all morning, with only his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes keeping him honest. Chaz Davies on the Ducati suffered from a crash in the cooler morning session, and in spite of being third quickest in the second session, he's still seeking a few setup tweaks. His teammate, Troy Bayliss, ended the day seventh quickest, showing that on tracks where everybody has equal experience, he still has a chance to qualify well.

Leon Haslam continues to keep his Aprilia near the top of the timing sheets, with his teammate, rookie Jordi Torres, ninth quickest. Reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli accidentally did the entire second session on one set of tyres; missing his garage when he came in to get his tyres changed, he decided to just finish the session on the same tyres. Guintoli's Honda teammate Michael van der Mark was not as competitive as he'd hoped, feeling like he was putting in good laps, but just not getting the times.

The day ended with five manufacturers in the top six and nobody complaining about the heat

In World Supersport, Honda's Kyle Smith was quickest, with PJ Jacobsen's morning time putting him second. Kenan Sofuoglu and Jules Cluzel led Film Wilairot and Gino Rea, with three manufacturers in the top six.

Rain is predicted for Saturday morning, but Sunday should be dry. And hot.

Round Number: 
2
2015
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