Alex Lowes demionstrated that his Friday performance was not a one-off by putting his Suzuki in provisional pole ahead of his teammate. Eugene Laverty on the other GSX-R1000 was within xxx, with the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies sitting in third and fourth places, following in Carlos Checa's qualifying performance from last year. Tom Sykes, world champion and qualifying maven, assured that he'd be in the top qualifying group while Niccolo Canepa makes history by putting his EVO Ducati Panigale into Superpole 2 amongst the full-SBK spec bikes.
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Phillip Island is unique. The opening race is held in the southern hemisphere, seven weeks before the circus gets to Europe. The track has its own climate and last year’s resurfacing still makes the track abrasive. Testing here took place last week, which gave teams a bit of additional setup, but it also took its toll in injuries, something that continued into the qualifying runs. The morning’s session in both Superbike and Supersport were lost to rain, but the afternoon sessions ran without a problem.
On his first day on the job, Alex Lowes tops his first timing sheet. The British Superbike champion, and twin brother of Sam, the World Supersport champion, recorded seven 1'31 laps on his Suzuki GSX-R1000. Marco Melandri, on the newly liveried silver Aprilia, adapted quickly to his new machine ahead of Davide Giugliano and Tom Sykes.
Without his rival of last year, Sofuoglu showed why he's a favourite for the title this year, setting the fastest time, two-thirds of a second faster than the rest of the field, as soon as conditions allowed, setting the fastest lap just ten minutes into the session. As the only rider to get a 1'33 lap, and several of them at that, pole position is well within his grasp.
As the weather in Australia dampens both the track and the teams' enthusiasm, very few riders were able to get a lap that was worth anything in. At the end of the session, as conditions allowed, a handful of riders set out and recorded times that just show that their data loggers work, and very little else.
The opening Free Practice session for World Supersport ended with only four riders recording a complete lap. The rain ensured most riders just stayed in their garages.
Tom Sykes seized control of the World Superbike test at Phillip Island, topping the timesheets on the second day of the test with a lap just five thousandths shy of Carlos Checa's pole record around the Australian circuit. The reigning world champion set a time in the morning which nobody could get near, signalling his intention to fiercely defend his title.
Kenan Sofuoglu's quest to regain the World Supersport title got off to a strong start at Phillip Island, the Turkish Mahi Kawasaki rider topping the timesheets on both days of the last official test before the season starts. Sofuoglu was fractionally faster on Tuesday, having spent most of the second day running race simulations and pronouncing himself satisfied.
Near perfect conditions at Phillip Island saw fast times being set from the beginning of the first day of testing for the World Superbike class. The morning was especially good, with nary a breath of the wind which usually blasts across the circuit, whatever the weather.
Kenan Sofuoglu made his intentions clear of recapturing the World Supersport title on the first day of testing at Phillip Island, dominating the timesheets and ending nearly four tenths ahead of Pata Honda's Michael van der Mark. Sofuoglu set the time with ease, he later told Speedweek, saying he had been pushing at all, but had been working on tire endurance.
While most of the world's attention was focused on the first MotoGP test of the year at Sepang, in Spain, a few of the World Superbike teams used a private test to prepare for their journey Down Under to the season opener at Phillip Island. The rain prevented testing for the first day of the test, but the second day took place under sunny skies, but with high winds and damp patches making going tricky.
The final day of testing for the World Superbike riders at Portimao at last gave everyone a full day of riding on a dry track. Though the rain stayed away, cool temperatures and a lack of rubber on the track made conditions far from ideal, but at least the teams could get some of the work done they had planned for the test.
The World Superbike testing season has gotten off to a slow start, with the weather around Portimao apparently unwilling to cooperate. Heavy overnight rain left the circuit wet on Sunday morning, but conditions improved enough for the riders present to fit slicks in the afternoon and start to work on set up.
While the Moto2 and Moto3 riders are busy in Almeria, the World Superbike teams are busy at Jerez. As usual, Tom Sykes is dominating proceedings, the newly-crowned WSBK champion circulating well under pole record pace at the Spanish circuit. Sykes lapped six tenths quicker than his teammate Loris Baz, and nine tenths faster than Marco Melandri, the Italian now riding the factory Aprilia.
Loris Baz has topped the timesheets at the two-day test held at Aragon for some of the World Superbike teams. Baz had spent the test working on bike set up, on a track he has not run well on in the past. The Frenchman ended up three tenths quicker than Jonathan Rea, at his first full test after returning from a broken femur. Rea and Pata Honda teammate Leon Haslam spent most of their time working on electronics, making big steps with the HRC package they had struggled with for most of the season.