The first World Superbike race of the season in Australia may be considered a test with points, taking part over a month before first European round in Spain, but that doesn't mean it can't give us entertainment.
Latest World Superbike Results
Superpole for World Supersport has, like World Superbike qualifying, switched to a single twenty-five minute session
Randy Krummenacher ended qualifying on top, with a lead of over three tenths of a second. Federico Caricasulo and Jules Cluzel were the only riders within four tenths of Krummenacher's quickest time, but none of the top eight riders were quicker than their times yesterday.
Alvaro Bautista set an early 1'29 lap and then sliced another tenth off it it to get within under three tenths of a second of Jonathan Rea's pole record from 2017. Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea made up the rest of the provisional front row, with Alex Lowes and Eugene Laverty pushing Tom Sykes down to sixth quickest.
Superpole will be a single session later today determining the positions for race one while race two's grid will be determined by a short sprint race on Sunday morning.
Jules Cluzel headed a trio of Yamahas at the top, ahead of Federico Caricasulo and Randy Krummenacher. Lucas Mahias was third quickest on the Kawasaki, leading a pair of MV Agustas in the form of Raffaele De Rosa and Federico Fuligni.
Alvaro Bautista ended the day on top, four hundredths of a second ahead of Jonathan Rea. Taking both sessions into account, with a third Free Practice deciding Superpole tomorrow, there were thirteen riders within a second of Bautista's quickest time.
After holding the fastest time for most of the session, Randy Krummenacher was deposed by Federico Caricasulo but at the session's end, he took back the top spot, almost four tenths quicker than his rivals. Thomas Gradinger split Krummenacher and Caricasulo in the dying minutes and Raffaele De Rosa, the quickest non-Yamaha rider, was fourth quickest ahead of the French pairing of Jules Cluzel and Lucas Mahias, Mahias having switched to Kawasaki for 2019.
A red flag in the middle of the session caused a delay, but it didn't affect the results.
As the 2019 motorcycle racing season starts, four time world champion Jonathan Rea ended the first World Superbike qualifying session on top on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, ahead of class rookie Alvaro Bautista on the brand new Ducati Panigale V4. Leon Haslam, Rea's teammate this year, was third quickest with Rea's former teammate Tom Sykes joining the BMW team in fourth place. Sandro Cortese, reigning World Supersport champion, was fifth quickest on the GRT Yamaha R1.
Alvaro Bautista has laid down the law in Australia, the law being that the Ducati Panigale V4R is the bike to beat at Phillip Island. After dominating the first day of testing, Bautista went on to top the second day too, putting nearly a quarter of a second over his rivals.
Tom Sykes ended the test as second fastest, the BMW S1000RR clearly a competitive motorcycle in the right hands, and a tenth faster than the Kawasaki ZX-10RR of Leon Haslam. Haslam finished just ahead of his teammate and reigning champion Jonathan Rea, while Marco Melandri was the fastest Yamaha, the GRT Yamaha rider finishing fifth quickest.
Randy Krummenacher topped the second day of WorldSSP testing at Phillip Island, extending his domination of the test. Bardahl Yamaha teammate Federico Caricasulo finished the test in second spot, a couple of tenths behind Krummenacher. Raffele De Rosa put the MV Agusta into third spot, four tenths slower than Krummenacher.
The teams will now have a couple of days' rest, before reconvening for action on Friday morning, when the 2019 WorldSBK season kicks off in earnest.
Below are the combined times from both sessions today, as well as the times from each session separately:
Alvaro Bautista has made his mark on the first day of the WorldSBK at Phillip Island, the Aruba.it Ducati rider blitzing the field at the final test before racing starts. Bautista was aided by the fact that the wind picked up in the afternoon, making it hard for anyone to improve their times, but he used the speed of the Ducati V4R to his advantage to top both sessions.
Randy Krummenacher leads the way after the first day of the final test for the World Supersport class before the season kicks off next weekend. The Bardahl Yamaha rider put in a late charge to edge past his teammate Federico Caricasulo at the end of the day. Jules Cluzel made it three Yamahas in a row at the top of the timesheets.
Lucas Mahias, now riding a Puccetti Kawasaki, was fourth fastest after the first day, four tenths slower than Krummenacher, and just ahead of Raffaele De Rosa on the MV Agusta F3.
Jonathan Rea leaves the Portimao test having stamped his authority on the test at at the end of the day. The KRT Kawasaki rider ended the test nearly a second quicker than second-place rider Alex Lowes on the Pata Yamaha. Alvaro Bautista set the third fastest time on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V4R, a tenth behind Alex Lowes, while Rea's KRT teammate Leon Haslam was fourth.
Jonathan Rea topped the timesheets on the first day of the second WorldSBK test, currently underway at Portimao in Portugal. The Kawasaki rider finished four tenths faster than Alex Lowes on the Pata Yamaha, who in turn just edged ahead of WorldSBK newcomer Alvaro Bautista on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V4R.
Toprak Razgatlioglu was not far behind Bautista, the young Turkish rider five thousandths slower than the Spaniard on the Puccetti Kawasaki. Tom Sykes' first public timed appearance on the SMR BMW S1000RR backed up the impression of speed he had made during his untimed appearance at Jerez, ending the day in fifth, a tenth behind Razgatlioglu and a few hundredths ahead of Leon Haslam on the second KRT Kawasaki and Michael van der Mark on the second Pata Yamaha. GRT Yamaha's Marco Melandri was the last rider within a second of Jonathan Rea.
The WorldSBK field has gotten the first test of 2019 under their collective belts, and christened the new asphalt at the Jerez track. As you might expect, it was Jonathan Rea who was fastest, just shy of Marco Melandri's Superpole lap record from 2017. The fact that Rea set his time on race rubber may well give his rivals pause for thought. The KRT Kawasaki rider had by far the fastest pace of the WorldSBK riders, racking up a total of 14 laps of 1'39, while his rivals could manage no more than a handful.