Philip Island is a favourite track for riders and fans alike and it produces fast, close racing. The first race of the year and everyone apart from Davies and Fores used the Pirelli SC2 front tyres and the SC1 rears, ready for twenty-two laps where the results determine where you start race two. With Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty both returning to World Superbike and Stefan Breadl and Randy Krummenacher both joining the class, the new mixed with the old as Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies all looked intent on continuing their three-way scrap for the title.
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PJ Jacobsen as dominated qualifying up to now, with only Jules Cluzel getting close enough to worry the American's times and Kenan Sofuoglu absent for the first two rounds. Michael Canducci and Christian Gamarino were the quickest Superpole one riders going into qualifying and would have twelve other riders to beat to qualify for the second session.
Eleven riders took part in Superpole one in near-perfect conditions, aiming to take one of the two top spots to advance to the second session. Eugene Laverty, sporting duel-ready musketeer facial hair, was favourite to advance to the second session, eleventh quickest ahead of Michael van der Mark. Leon Camier, thirteenth quickest, missed out on most of the qualifying yesterday and went into Superpole with very little data and a fistful of guesses.
PJ Jacobsen once again tops the timing sheets, ahead of Federico Caricasulo and fast rookie Niki Tuuli. Wildcard Matt Edwards was declared unfit after a crash in Free Practice 2 and isn't allowed to take any further part.
As the flag signalled the end of the morning's untimed session, Marco Melandri deposed Jonathan Rea from the top spot only to have Rea snatch it right back forty seconds later, over a third of a second quicker. Xavi Fores was third quickest ahead of Chaz Davies, putting three Ducatis in the top four. Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes rounded out the top six.
PJ Jacobsen didn't match his morning's blistering top result, but he was still quicker than the rest, challenged by Jules Cluzel who made a great improvement from the previous outing. Federico Caricasulo remains third quickest.
Chaz Davies remains in provisional pole position after a slower second timed session, ahead of Jonathan Rea. Rea and Marco Melandri were quickest this session with Xavi Fores maintaining his strong pace from the morning's outing in third. Melandri's return to the series is going better than that of his former teammate Eugene Laverty, with the Irishman sitting in the top spot of Superpole one ahead of Michael van der Mark.
With reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu missing the first two rounds due to an injured wrist, PJ Jacobsen rose to the challenge on the MV Agusta and was over half a second quicker than Federico Caricasulo and Lucas Mahias, both on Yamahas, and Roberto Rolfo on an MV Agusta. A further half second back, Ayrton Badovini held off Honda-mounted Jules Cluzel.
Chaz Davies held off Jonathan Rea by under a tenth of a second at the end of the year's first timed session. There was a red flag early in the session due to oil on the track, but it caused less than ten minutes of stoppage. Xavi Fores was third quickest on the BARNI Ducati, ahead of Tom Sykes and Marco Melandri. Josh Brookes, the only wildcard of the weekend, was sixteenth quickest, almost two seconds off the frontrunners.
Jonathan Rea has topped the final World Superbike test of the 2017 preseason, a few days before the season kicks off in earnest at Phillip Island. The reigning champion was fastest in the morning session, though he had to cede top spot to Marco Melandri in the afternoon. But the Kawasaki man had gone fast enough in the morning to just edge the Ducati of Melandri, and end the test as fastest overall.
After three glorious days for MotoGP testing, the weather at Phillip Island has taken a turn for the worse. The first day of the final two-day test for the WorldSBK series ahead of this weekend's opener was hampered by strong winds and intermittent showers, wreaking havoc on the teams' testing programs.
Chaz Davies has ended the Portimao WorldSBK test on top of the timesheets, the factory Ducati rider quickest on both days of the test. Behind Davies, the field got an interesting shake up, with the Milwaukee Aprilias making a big step forward. After a tough couple of tests, Eugene Laverty made a major step forward with the RSV4, managing a quick pace on both race and qualifying tires. Teammate Lorenzo Savadori was third, just a fraction behind his teammate.
World Superbike testing continues, this time at the spectacular Portimao circuit in Portugal. With the Kawasakis absent, Chaz Davies topped the timesheets, heading up Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia and Davies' Ducati teammate Marco Melandri. Pata Yamaha rider Michael van der Mark set the second fastest time, but the Yamahas rode without a transponder, and their times were unofficially released by the teams to Speedweek.com.
The second and final day of testing at Jerez is complete for the WorldSBK series, and though the names at the top are familiar, the order is a little less clear cut than it was yesterday.
Jonathan Rea is still fastest, the reigning world champion a tenth quicker than anyone else on track, and one of only two riders to drop into the 1'39s. But behind the Kawasaki rider is not his teammate Tom Sykes, but Milwaukee Aprilia's Lorenzo Savadori. The Italian posted an impressive time in the afternoon, jumping to finish between the two Kawasakis.
The 2017 season is now officially underway, as bikes roll back out for testing. First up are the denizens of the WorldSBK series, with most of the major teams getting underway at a sunny but not especially warm Jerez de la Frontera circuit. A good selection of teams are present, including the Kawaski, Honda, Yamaha, Ducati factory teams, the Milwaukee Aprilia squad - now resplendent in their official 2017 colors - the Althea BSB team, and Puccetti Kawasaki.