Latest World Superbike Results
Carlos Checa has removed any lingering doubts about the competitiveness of the Ducati Panigale 1199R, after controlling the second and final day of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island, and ending the test as fastest overall. The Spaniard started the day fast, and ended the day fast, maintaining a strong pace throughout.
Checa was fastest in both wet - or rather, damp - conditions and in the dry. The second day of testing started out with a damp track, a number of riders choosing to stay in the pits instead of risking uncertain conditions on the newly resurfaced track, but the track soon dried out, and conditions improved greatly in the afternoon. Behind Checa, Marco Melandri took 2nd slot, the Italian finding a little more pace than on the first day. The BMW rider led a very close group, with just over a tenth of a second separating Melandri in 2nd from Pata Honda's Jonathan Rea in 5th. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes demonstrated that he will not be slowed too much by a cracked radius, grabbing 3rd slot, while Michel Fabrizio was the fastest of the Aprilia riders, putting the privateer Red Devils Roma RSV4 into 4th slot. The other Aprilia men occupied places 7 through 9, with just a few hundredths separating Davide Giugliano, Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty.
Sam Lowes has confirmed his status as favorite to win the 2013 World Supersport title, topping the timesheets on both days of the final official test ahead of this weekend's season opener at Phillip Island. Lowes was fast - the Yakhnich Yamaha man was nearly eight tenths quicker than the pole record held by Joan Lascorz, set back in 2010, and three tenths faster than reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu. The MAHI Kawasaki man led his teammate Fabien Foret, the two World Supersport veterans looking like posting the strongest threat to Lowes' title chances.
In 4th spot came Michael van der Mark, the young Dutchman making a strong debut on the Pata Honda World Supersport machine. Van der Mark heads up a very tight group, with a quarter of a second separating the Dutchman in 4th and Lowes' Yamaha teammate Vladimir Leonov in 7th, with David Salom on the Kawasaki and Gabor Talmacsi on the Honda sandwiched between them.
Weather conditions were cooler on the second day of the test, though a few spots of rain also threatened the final session for the class. Of greater concern were the tires which Pirelli had brought to Phillip Island for the WSS class: there signs of severe wear on the tires, reminiscent of the problems at the track for the past couple of years, the 2012 race having to be shortened due to fears the tires would not last the distance.
Leon Camier has carried his strong form from last week's private test at Phillip Island into the official test which started at the circuit on Monday. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki man used a race tire to lap half a second under Max Biaggi's race lap record, then going on to post a strong race simulation. The improvements the Crescent Suzuki squad have made, in conjunction with the Japanese Yoshimura company, are clearly paying off, the Suzuki lapping a second quicker than it did at the test last year.
Camier ended the session ahead of Pata Honda's Leon Haslam, the Ten Kate team well on their way to mastering the new HRC electronics, with still some potential left to come. Haslam was within two tenths of Camier, and just a few thousandths behind Michel Fabrizio, the Italian impressing on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia. The Italian privateer put his Aprilia RSV4 ahead of the factory machine, Eugene Laverty ending the day as 4th quickest, just two tenths off the time of Camier, and ahead of Marco Melandri, though the BMW GoldBet Italia rider is still struggling with his shoulder. Melandri complained of a lack of strength in the shoulder after just a few laps on the bike, giving the Italian some concern for Sunday's two WSBK races. A further operation could be needed to his shoulder once he returns to Europe after this weekend's races.
It has been a good day for the Yamahas on the first day of the official World Supersport and World Superbike test at Phillip Island. The Yakhnich Yamaha squad got off to a strong start, with Sam Lowes topping the timesheets, and his teammate Vladimir Leonov in 3rd, just over a third of a second behind. Despite missing most of the first session of testing due to what the team described as a "technical problem", the young Englishman led the second session, setting a time just a tenth of a second off Joan Lascorz' pole record at the iconic Australian circuit.
Reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu ended the day in 2nd, two tentsh behind Lowes, and just ahead of Lowes' teammate Leonov. Former 125cc world champion Gabor Talmacsi was the fastest of the Hondas, the Hungarian lapping just under half a second off the pace of Lowes, and two tenths of Dutch rookie Michael van der Mark, the Pata Honda rider posting impressive times on his first visit to the Island. Fabien Foret took 6th fastest, while Aussie wildcard Josh Hook impressed with the 7th fastest time, and the last man to get within a second of Lowes.
Conditions at the newly resurfaced circuit were good, though the riders were troubled by a strong winds all day, a regular problem at Phillip Island. Testing continues tomorrow, ahead of the first round of racing for 2013 this weekend.
The Yakhnich Yamaha squad has laid down a marker for the 2013 World Supersport season, with both Sam Lowes and Vladimir Leonov off to a flying start in Australia. Both Lowes and Leonov lapped under Fabien Foret's race lap record, while Lowes matched the pole record for the Phillip Island circuit, set in 2010 by Joan Lascorz.
Dutchman Michael van der Mark was also off to a strong start, though the Pata Honda Supersport man was four tenths slower on the second day than he was on the first. Given that Thursday was his very first time at the track, Van der Mark is looking like developing into a real threat in the World Supersport championship.
The MV Agustas also made their debut down under, with Roberto Rolfo and Christian Iddon racing the ParkinGO-backed 675 triples. The MV Agusta is already up to speed, despite the newness of the project, and shows signs of being competitive this season.
Whether these times are really fast or not will become apparent from Monday, when the full World Supersport grid assembles at Phillip Island for the official test ahead of the first race. Once reigning world champion Kenan Sofuoglu takes to the track, there will be a real benchmark at Phillip Island.
The second day of the private test for the World Superbike teams at Phillip Island went very much as the first day did: with fast times, and a lot of crashes. The new surface was to blame for both: Leon Camier got half a second under the race lap record, but the on/off grip levels of the track saw him, and almost every one else, flung off their bikes at one point or another.
Camier ended the day fastest, the engine updates on his FIXI Crescent Suzuki improving the machine considerably, along with electronic updates for the bike. Sylvain Guintoli - the man Suzuki originally signed alongside Camier, but who jumped ship for the factory Aprilia ride - was 2nd, a tenth off the pace of Camier, proving that the Aprilia RSV4 still a potent weapon. Johnny Rea put the Pata Honda into 3rd, work continuing on ironing out the wrinkles with the HRC electronics, with both Rea and Haslam pleased with the progress made, though still aware of the task ahead. Marco Melandri was the fastest BMW man, though the Italian was wary of pushing too hard for fear of crashing, and adding further damage to his painful shoulder. Melandri did put in a long run on used tires, running a consistent string of laps around the 1'32 mark, a solid race pace.
While the Moto2 and Moto3 riders finish up their test at Valencia, on the other side of the world, the World Superbike and World Supersport riders are beginning the final run in to the season opener in 10 days' time. They started today with the first of two days of private testing, the first chance the riders get to see the resurfaced Phillip Island track. The overall reaction to the new surface was very positive, though the lack of rubber on the track caused a spot of mayhem in the morning, with several riders crashing out.
Fastest man of the day was Eugene Laverty on the factory Aprilia, the Irishman circulating at lap record pace, but still a second off the pole record. Leon Camier put the Fixi Suzuki into 2nd spot, ahead of the Pata Hondas of Johnny Rea and Leon Haslam, while Marco Melandri ended the day in 5th. Carlos Checa did not ride, as the 2011 World Champion was suffering with a stomach bug.
Marco Melandri topped the second day of testing at Jerez for the World Superbike and World Supersport riders at Jerez, the weather finally taking a turn for the better, and allowing the riders to turn a lot of laps and get a lot of work done. The BMW rider sat atop the timesheets for most of the day, finishing a tenth of a second ahead of David Giugliano on the Althea Aprilia.
Eugene Laverty took the factory Aprilia to third, a quarter of a second behind Melandri, while Leon Camier posted impressive times on the Suzuki GSX-R1000, grabbing 4th ahead of Jonathan Rea on the Pata Honda. The Pata Honda squad have a lot of work to do this season, the Ten Kate-run and HRC-backed CBR1000RR now sporting a new swingarm, a new exhaust, and new electronics.
Reigning World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu was the fastest of the WSS men, the veteran Turk returning to Kawasaki. But Sofuoglu looks like he could have a battle on his hands, with Sam Lowes ending the day less than a tenth behind Sofuoglu, despite this being the young Englishman still adapting to the Yamaha YZF-R6. Young Dutchman Michael van der Mark continues to impress on his WSS debut, ending the day in 3rd on the Pata Honda CBR600RR, half a second behind Lowes and nearly a quarter of a second quicker than Lowes' teammate Vladimir Leonov.
The weather has not improved at Jerez for the full World Superbike and World Supersport test. Aprilia, Honda, Suzuki, BMW, Kawasaki and Yamaha have met with much the same weather as Ducati, who have just departed the circuit after a three-day test of their own. It rained on and off for most of the day, leaving the track soaked despite the odd sunny spell. The tricky weather conditions rendered the times meaningless, though all of the teams got plenty of work done shaking down a host of new parts.
Althea Aprilia's Davide Giugliano ended the day on top, the young Italian making a good transition to the Aprilia, after having ridden the Ducati for the past two years. Marco Melandri was second, the only man to get within a second of Giugliano, and benefiting from an extra day of testing on Monday, riding his BMW in among the Ducatis. Sylvain Guintoli set the 3rd fastest time, but the Frenchman was nearly two-and-a-half seconds slower than Giugliano.
The penultimate day of combined testing for the MotoGP and World Superbike teams at Jerez brought good news for Ducati, in both series. Nicky Hayden ended the day as fastest, posting the fastest timed lap set by a Ducati this year at Jerez, just a hair outside the 1:39 bracket at 1:40.090. That is nearly half a second quicker than the time he posted during qualifying back in April, despite cold conditions which made it difficult to get the Bridgestone tires up to temperature. Hayden was the fastest man of the day (using the chassis raced at the end of the 2012 season, not the evolution brought to the track for testing), three quarters of a second quicker than Marco Melandri on the BMW Italia WSBK machine. Melandri picked up the pace quickly at the test, closing in on the times set by Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes, both of whom have now flown home, Aprilia and Kawasaki having completed their test programs.
Ducati's WSBK and MotoGP riders have joined some of the World Superbike men at Jerez as testing continues, offering an interesting comparison between the two series. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the fastest time was set by a World Superbike rider, Eugene Laverty taking top spot on the factory Aprilia, having already spent two previous days on the track. Tom Sykes ended the day in 2nd, the Kawasakis once again running without transponders, while Nicky Hayden ended with the 3rd fastest time on his first day of testing aboard the Ducati GP13 Desmosedici MotoGP machine. Hayden was two thirds of a second behind Laverty, but it is the American's first day back in the saddle, and the Ducati MotoGP bike has notoriously struggled around the Jerez circuit. Hayden was within three tenths of his qualifying time from earlier in the year.
Michele Pirro continues to impress as Ducati test ride, once again going faster than Andrea Iannone. Meanwhile, the Ducati Panigale clearly has a lot of work left to be done, Carlos Checa nearly three seconds slower than Laverty on the Aprilia. Slowest man of the day was Andrea Dovizioso, though he rode very little due to neck problem, his neck having locked up solid after making an unexpected motion.
The riders return to the track again on Thursday.
While Honda's MotoGP riders have headed to the far east to continue testing, their World Superbike counterparts have trekked south to Jerez, joining a large group of WSBK riders testing at the circuit. The choice of the World Superbike men proved to be a far better one than HRC's, with the test taking place under close to ideal conditions at the circuit in the south of Spain.
The name at the top of the timesheets is no surprise, Tom Sykes carrying the momentum he gained at the end of the 2012 WSBK season on into testing. Though both Kawasaki men went out without transponders, their reported times were fast, Sykes ending the day with a lap of 1:41.3, nearly nine tenths quicker than anyone else. Second fastest man was Michel Fabrizio, the Italian now riding an Aprilia RSV4 with the Red Devils Roma squad, and impressing in his early rides on the bike. Fabrizio ended ahead of factory Aprilia man Eugene Laverty, though the margin was slim, just over five hundredths of a second.
Though the final day of testing at Aragon for the World Superbike teams took place under sunny skies, an oil spill and a strong headwind down the back straight made improving times difficult. The test ended with Tom Sykes as fastest, finishing ahead of 2012 World Champion Max Biaggi by two tenths of a second. Leon Camier set the third fastest time on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki, though matched by Biaggi's Aprilia teammate Eugene Laverty.
The oil spill was caused by Carlos Checa's Ducati Panigale, which locked up on the front straight and dumped a lot of oil onto the track. The riders lost a lot of testing time while the track was cleaned, and by the time the circuit workers were finished the wind had picked up, making it difficult for riders to improve their time.
Kawasaki's Sykes finished the three-day test as fastest overall, with Biaggi in 2nd and Camier in 3rd. The introduction of the 17-inch wheels has failed to slow the bikes, with times easily faster than the fastest race laps set here during the race weekend at July. Sykes set his fastest times on race tires, the bike and the new wheels clearly demonstrating their combined potential.
The teams now head home, but only for a few weeks. The World Superbike off-season is due to culminate in a joint test for all of the teams at Jerez at the end of November.
The second day of testing for the small band of World Superbike riders gathered together at the Motorland Aragon circuit took place under near ideal conditions, the winds that plagued the first day having dropped overnight. The results are almost a rerun of the 2012 season, with Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki at the top of the timesheets, and 2012 World Champion Max Biaggi shortly behind on the Aprilia. The times are fast: Sykes is a second quicker than he was on Monday, while Biaggi is nine tenths faster than the previous day. Both men are well under the race lap record, though Sykes is still a second slower than his Superpole record from earlier this year.
Leon Camier continues to impress on the Suzuki, posting the 3rd fastest time of the day. Reports that Camier was running the old 16.5-inch wheels, as reported by GPOne.com, were denied by Suzuki's Jack Valentine, the Suzuki man running the same 17-inch wheels that both Sykes and Biaggi are using.
With the 2012 World Superbike championship in the bag, preparations are already underway for next season. A significant part of the 2013 WSBK grid is at Aragon and testing ahead of next year, with some interesting developments apparent at the Spanish track.
Conditions were far from ideal with strong winds hampering progress, but despite the problems, times were extremely fast. Leon Camier was the fastest man on the day, circulating at lap record pace on the Suzuki, and four tenths quicker than Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki, while 2012 World Champion Max Biaggi was a tenth slower than Sykes. Camier was meant to be joined by Sylvain Guintoli, who already had a signed contract with the Fixi Crescent Suzuki squad, but had that contract torn up when Crescent found the Frenchman was still negotiating with another team to race an Aprilia, according to the ever-reliable Bikesportnews.com.