Chaz Davies

2012 Phillip Island WSBK Round Up - Rea, Ducatis and Injuries

Jonathan Rea was quickest in Friday's first qualifying session from Philip Island, joining Carlos Checa as the only two men to put in sub-1.32 minute laps this weekend. 
 
The Ulsterman shot to the top of the timesheets in the afternoon session, after struggling with an electrical issue earlier in the day. Despite Rea’s provisional-pole, he said he still doesn’t have the race pace to stay with Checa and clinging on to Max Biaggi could be a tough ask, as well.
 
Things on the other side of the Ten Kate garage were not quite as rosy. Former 250cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama fell off early, leaving his crew to fix a sticky gear selector for much of the day, finishing in 15th, just more than a second behind his teammate.
 
Ducati looked again impressive at the Island, occupying three of the top five places after QP1. Although, not in the order one would imagine. Qualifying superhero Jakub Smrz put his Effenbert Liberty Ducati second in the order, ahead of Althea Ducati teammates, defending World Superstock Champion Davide Giugliano and defending World Superbike Champion, Carlos Checa.
 

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World Superbikes In 2012: 22 Riders, 6 Makes, And A Gaggle Of Contenders

Despite the loss of the factory Yamaha team, the World Superbike series is still in relatively good health, considering the financial crisis. Though the days of 30+ rider grids are gone, grid size has stabilized at around the 22 rider mark, 1 up from last year, while there are still 6 manufacturers present, Aprilia, BMW, Ducati and Kawasaki in an official capacity, Honda unofficially via Ten Kate, and Suzuki absent, with Crescent working with Yoshimura on their own bikes.

The field has seen some changes, though most of the title favorites are staying with the teams they were with in 2011. Carlos Checa remains with Althea Ducati, though the effort expands to include 2011 Superstock champ Davide Giugliano, while Max Biaggi is in the second year of his 2-year contract with Aprilia, and Johnny Rea is staying with the Ten Kate Honda squad. Championship runner up Marco Melandri has been forced to move, joining Leon Haslam at BMW, while his erstwhile teammate Eugene Laverty has been paired with Biaggi in the factory Aprilia squad. The factory Kawasaki rider contingent is cut from 3 to 2, Chris Vermeulen losing his slot, while Tom Sykes remains alongside Joan Lascorz.

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