The final day of official World Superbike testing ended at Phillip Island and Team Ducati Alstare’s Carlos Checa led the way with a blistering lap time of 1’31.059. The Spaniard was followed by BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Marco Melandri in second and Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes in third.
Checa overcame a blocked intestine to place sixth in the first session on his 1199 Panigale, which makes its professional debut at the season opener on February 24. Conditions at the Australian circuit were damp the morning of Day 2, but thanks to a break in the rain the track was fully dry by the afternoon, giving Checa the opportunity to push hard and achieve the best lap time recorded during the test. He and his team worked to find a suitable base setting for the Ducati and were pleased with the fact that every change seemed to yield an improvement in performance.
“We were already able to find a good base setting yesterday and then continued to work from there today,” said Checa. “I like the fact that every change we make to this bike is positive and it seems that everything we do results in us going in the right direction. The team is working really well together and this is the first time this year that we’ve had good conditions that have allowed us to spend a lot of time on the bike. Working on this new project right now is one of the most satisfying moments of my life. It is an exciting challenge and today’s results show that the bike has great potential and that there is still room for improvement.”
Melandri, and his teammate Chaz Davies, focused on evaluating the performance of the new Pirelli 17-inch tires over a race distance. They did encounter some issues though, primarily in regards to tire wear and chatter, which seemed to be aggravated in the cooler temperatures on Day 2. Melandri also continues to suffer from pain in his shoulder, a condition that has been flaring up ever since he landed in Phillip Island for unofficial testing the week prior.
“In these two days of testing we completed a lot of work with our RR,” said Melandri. “In general I am quite happy with the bike and we have a good base for the first race weekend. But we have more work to do in two areas where we are still struggling. We still have issues with tire wear and we need to improve that for the races. The second issue is that we’re experiencing chatter, similar to last year’s race weekend at Phillip Island. Unfortunately my shoulder is still causing me difficulties, and I still feel pain. I hope that I will feel better on the race weekend.”
Davies added, “In today’s cooler conditions, I had some issues with vibrations that I did not have in the heat. We will have a look over the data and try to improve it and to understand how the bike is working in such conditions. In general we are quite well prepared and over the next two days we will analyze what we have done in testing and try to put something together.”
Sykes is riding with a cracked bone in his left wrist, but was able to overcome the issue thanks to the help of his team. The British rider hit the pavement hard during unofficial testing the week before, in an incident that left the 2012 runner-up a bit shaken.
“I definitely used my injured arm today because it has been sleeping,” said Sykes. “My crew chief has been doing a good job of waking it up. I know that the wrist has been knocked about and you can tell there is a crack in it, likewise the ribs are pretty sore, but I have every confidence in Kawasaki and all of the team. There is still work to be done but with six hours track time the boys have done a fantastic job, one that has made my life easier. I can get on and ride the bike and I am enjoying it. I had been a little bit tense due to the circuit catching me out a few days ago, but I finished well, with a lot of information.”
Sykes’ teammate, Loris Baz, also went down hard during an earlier test session and spent most of Day 2 regaining feel and confidence aboard his ZX-10R. He finished the day in 15th.
Red Devils Roma’s Michel Fabrizio was fourth-fastest, and was happy about the consistency he’s found on the RSV4. Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea placed fifth and was markedly pleased with the change in condition from Day 1 to Day 2. Rea worked to dial in his electronics package, particularly traction control, and to improve tire life on his CBR1000RR. His teammate, Leon Haslam, did similar work on his electronics package, working to sort out an issue which caused his bike to cut out intermittently while running laps. Haslam ended Day 2 in sixth.
Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano put in just eight laps during the final session of official testing, plagued by a virus that gave him intestinal problems and a high fever. Aprilia Racing Team duo Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty finished eighth and ninth respectively followed by FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier in 10th.
Checa’s teammate, Ayrton Badovini, ended the day in 20th as he was only able to post a few laps due to the hematoma on his liver which makes it difficult to change direction at speed.
“I only did a few laps today, just to see how I felt on the bike,” said Badovini. “I have a hematoma on my liver and that makes me very sore – especially through the right turns and when changing direction at speed. According to the doctor, this kind of thing normally needs one month to heal properly, but I’m hoping that, after two days’ rest, I will be able to get on my bike and get round the circuit ok.”
World Superbike Phillip Island Test Day 2 Results 2013:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’31.059
2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’31.237
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’31.261
4. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’31.350
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’31.356
6. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1’31.549
7. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’31.640
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’31.658
9. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’31.712
10. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’31.814
11. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’32.044
12. Chaz Davies (BMW) 1’32.102
13. Glen Allerton (BMW) 1’32.159
14. Jamie Stauffer (Honda) 1’32.255
15. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’32.625
16. Vittorio Iannuzzo (BMW) 1’32.880
17. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki) 1’32.964
18. Ivan Clementi (BMW) 1’33.293
19. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’33.447
20. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) 1’33.686
In World Supersport testing, Sam Lowes of Yakhnich Motorsport led the charge for the second day in a row, getting the best of Mahi Racing Team India’s Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret, who finished second and third respectively. Pata Honda World Supersport’s Michael Van der Mark was fourth-fastest, followed by Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres’ David Salom in fifth.
“Every time entering the track I was faster,” said Lowes. “I think we still don’t know the real limit of bike’s resources. We’ll unlock it during the race. We have big potential to put up fast laps so now we are looking for better settings to save the tires till the end.”
Prorace’s Gabor Talmacsi was sixth-fastest with Lowes’ teammate, Vladimir Leonov, following in seventh. VFT Racing’s Fabio Menghi took eighth while Team Pata by Martini’s Massimo Roccoli finished ninth. Salom’s teammate, Luca Scassa, rounded out the Supersport top-10.
World Supersport Phillip Island Test Day 2 Results 2013:
1. Sam Lowes (Yamaha) 1’33.076
2. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’33.384
3. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 1’33.614
4. Michael Van der Mark (Honda) 1’33.874
5. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’33.950
6. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 1’34.048
7. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 1’34.140
8. Fabio Menghi (Yamaha) 1’34.258
9. Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha) 1’34.375
10. Luca Scassa (Kawasaki) 1’34.428
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