2008 Kyalami World Superbike Testing - Final Day 3 Times

Testing concluded today for the final World Superbike test of the year, in Kyalami, South Africa. And once again, as he had done the previous two days, it was Michel Fabrizio on the factory Ducati who finished on top of the pile. Ben Spies was back in 2nd place again on Friday, having managed not to crash his Yamaha R1, as he did on Thursday. Meanwhile, it was Noriyuki Haga rounding out the top 3, and the last of the riders to have cracked into the 1'39 bracket.

The Hondas improved once again, with Johnny Rea and Carlos Checa setting the 4th and 5th fastest times, and a good deal more competitive than on the first day of the test, when they were some 4 seconds slower.

In the new machinery stakes, Aprilia continues to beat BMW, with Max Biaggi fastest, 6/10ths faster than his team mate Shinya Nakano, and nearly 4/10ths faster than Troy Corser on the BMW. But Corser was hampered by a crash earlier in the day, which he escaped form unscathed.

Final times from day 3:

1Michel FabrizioDucati1'39.714
2Ben SpiesYamaha1'39.978
3Noriyuki HagaDucati1'39.984
4Jonathan ReaHonda1'40.035
5Carlos ChecaHonda1'40.170
6Max NeukirchnerSuzuki1'40.394
7Yukio KagayamaSuzuki1'40.657
8Max BiaggiAprilia1'40.768
9Ryuichi KiyonariHonda1'41.067
10Troy CorserBMW1'41.102
11Shinya NakanoAprilia1'41.331
12Tom SykesYamaha1'41.562
13Ruben XausBMW1'41.996
14Kenan SofuogluHonda Supersport1'42.872
15Andrew PittHonda Supersport1'43.908


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You know, as much as I wanted to see Spies in MotoGP this coming year, I'm almost glad Suzuki was short-sighted enough to keep an aging and increasingly uncompetitive Capirossi on board instead of giving Spies the shot he continues to prove he deserved. The folks at Yamaha must be grinning like the cat that ate the canary. Perhaps Spies is as well. Here is why.

I have very little faith in Suzuki's ability to close the performance gap to Ducati, Yamaha, and Honda in the next few years. They simply don't have "it," whatever that may be. Now, Spies is in WSK, already exceeding all expectations at a new track, on a completely new and undeveloped bike, running tires he's never ridden. It is surely within reason to call him one of the favorites for the title.

Consider then the Yamaha MotoGP program. I have not looked at when contracts expire but if Spies wins or nearly wins the world championship in his first year, I cannot imagine Yamaha failing to find a way to move him into the seat currently held by Edwards or Toseland. After that I can easily see Ben spending a year or two on the satellite squad before moving up to replace either a retiring Rossi or a brand-swapping Lorenzo.

OR -- If you'll permit me to wallow in the "Rossi to WSB so he can win both world titles and stick it in the eye of Ago" mudbath for a moment. In what would be a truly remarkable turn of events, Spies wins the world superbike championship this year or next, and this year or next Rossi actually decides he wants to go to WSB to try to win that title. Rossi and Spies swaps seats, and in that same year win (and swap) their respective world championships, simultaneously each becoming "dual world champions." THAT would be one for the history books... Of course then Rossi would have to come back to MotoGP because the aforementioned scenario would mean that we would never see Rossi and Spies head to head...

You heard it here first ;)

Shocking that BMW and Aprilia are doing so well... I figured this year would be a development year for both. Biaggi's only a second off the pace, and Corser is only another half second back! It's so great to see a series with the grids expanding. Throw in some talented new riders (Spies, Rea) and bunch of retreads (Nakano and the rest of the MotoGP expats), and this is going to be a great year for World Superbike.

he's already in the best class!

The new 600cc rules are crap and will produce racing that is both slower and more expensive than Superstock.

The rumored future rules for MotoGP with spec ECUs, etc will produce racing that is both slower and more expensive than Superbike.

Add in that starting next year we could see 8 factory teams in Superbike and I think MotoGP risks becoming one Valentino Rossi retirement away from being a second string series.

Spies is looking really good...
Biaggi? Is the Aprillia not competitive?
Haga and Fabrizio are looking to duke it out with flashes from the Honda...
Checa. this is your break out time.