The weekend attendance of 54,437 were treated by close racing in the first two races with a promise of more for the last race of the weekend.
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World Supersport has slick tyres available to them for the first time, and for safety, there is a mid-race pit stop for a tyre change. No more than ten laps can be raced on one rear tyre, and at least forty five seconds must be spent in the pits.
The first ten lap Superpole race of the year would award points to the top twelve finishers, with the top nine determining the grid for race two. Garrett Gerloff was un fortunately ruled out of the rest of the day due to a crash caused by Sandro Cortese. Cortese would start the race from the back of the grid. Eugene Laverty also crashed in the warm up and suffered a concussion, ending his weekend.
The opening race of 2020 took place on a try track that is notoriously punishing on tyres as riders are only upright down the straight, spending the remainder of the lap on the sides of their tyres. With the weather behaving, and no horrible geese invading the track, twenty two laps of close racing ensued.
This year, World Supersport gets slick tyres, and no longer need to use road-legal tyres. Twenty five minutes would determine the grid for tomorrow's race.
Twenty five minutes of qualifying would determine the grid for the first race this afternoon. Scott Redding was quickest in all three sessions, wet or dry, and is favourite to take pole on his debut Superpole. Leon Camier didn't take part and would sit the remainder of the weekend out.
Andrea Locatelli was within under a tenth of a second of Sam Lowes's 2013 outright lap record, setting the quickest time of the session on this year's slick tyres. Jules Cluzel and Randy Krummenacher joined him with 1'32 laps.
Scott Redding was quickest for the third time this weekend, ahead of Michael van der Mark and Jonathan Rea. Redding heads to Superpole as the favourite and all nine riders at the top set their fastest times in the last session, with only Leon Haslam in the top twelve needing to rely on a time from the previous day. Leon Camier was ruled unfit after FP2 when it was clear his shoulder injury from Aragon was too much for him to compete with.
In a session split by two red flags, one of which was resolved by a man on a scooter chasing birds off the track, the dry weather gave riders a chance to try out the new for 2020 slick tyres, which let Randy Krummenacher set a lap that was quicker than the previous race lap record and within four tenths of a second of Sam Lowes's 2013 outright lap record. Krummenacher's switch to MV Agusta shows potential, with his teammate Raffaele de Rosa third quickest. Former Moto2 rider Andrea Locatelli was second quickest, swapping the top spot with Krummenacher throughout the session.
Red flags were brought out for debris on track, causing a five minute break in the middle of the session, but at least the rain stayed away and gave us full-speed qualifying. Series rookie Scott Redding ended the day on top of both sessions, getting to within four tenths of a second of the race lap record towards the end of the second session. Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark were within half a second of Redding's best time with Leon Haslam exactly half a second off.
In a wet session that had only three riders recording a time for the majority of the session, Andrea Locatelli came out quickest, in spite of only recording four timed laps. Corentin Perolari was second quickest after ten laps.
Alvaro Bautista opened the season on his Honda, setting out on a damp track while everyone else stayed in, finishing their breakfast. He knocked out a couple of laps before he was joined by Jonathan Rea. Series rookie Federico Caricasulo followed out on his Yamaha with Xavi Fores on a Kawasaki shortly after. Ten minutes in to the new year and only four riders were showing up on the timing screens.
Jonathan Rea took command of the final WorldSBK test ahead of the season start this weekend at Phillip Island, finishing the test on top of the timesheets. But the margin the KRT Kawaski rider had was small: just (an ironic) 0.076 seconds ahead of Loris Baz on the Ten Kate Yamaha. Rea's time was good, but his race pace was ferocious, putting in a lot of high 1'30s and low 1'31s.
Andrea Locatelli ended the final day of WorldSSP testing with a commanding lead, the Bardahl Evan Bros Yamaha rider nearly two thirds of a second quicker than reigning World Supersport champion Randy Krummenacher on the MV Agusta. Krummenacher just inched ahead of Frenchman Jules Cluzel on the GMT94 Yamaha, who was in turn a few hundredths quicker than Raffaele De Rosa on the second MV Agusta. Cluzel's GMT94 Yamaha teammate Corentin Perolari rounds out the top 5.
Day 2 times:
With the WorldSBK season due to kick off next weekend, the teams and riders get one last chance to prepare for 2020, with testing taking place on Monday and Tuesday. The first day of the test did not run entirely smoothly, Phillip Island's notorious winds and brief showers chasing riders on and off track, with a smattering of red flags thrown into the mix.