Phillip Island Test Day 2 WSBK Overall: Ducati Whitewash At The Island

If there was any doubt that Ducati has set its sights on reclaiming the 2010 World Superbike title, then the last test of the preseason before racing starts in earnest will have put those doubts to rest. After allowing Leon Haslam and Suzuki top honors in the first session on Sunday, a Ducati has topped the timesheet ever since, ending the session with five bikes in the top six. Fastest over both days was Michel Fabrizio, the factory Xerox Ducati rider shattering Troy Corser's race lap record on Monday morning, after the track had dried and before the wind picked up too strongly.

Michel Fabrizio, Xerox Ducati, at the 2010 final World Superbike test at Phillip Island
Photo copyright Andrew Gosling

Fabrizio's lead, however, was minimal. Both Shane Byrne and Jakub Smrz were less than two hundredths of a second behind the Italian, with Byrne's Althea Ducati teammate Carlos Checa a quarter of a second behind Smrz. Odd man out among the Ducati riders was, surprisingly enough, Noriyuki Haga, who had spent the final day of testing working on suspension setup and finished in 6th position, six tenths behind his teammate Fabrizio.

Johnny Rea was the fastest of the four cylinders, the Ten Kate Honda rider ending the test in 5th position behind the gaggle of Ducatis. Fellow Briton Leon Haslam was 7th quickest on the Suzuki, ahead of the Aprilia pairing of Max Biaggi and Leon Camier. Camier's improvement on the second day was a welcome improvement for the reigning BSB champion, as he had ended the first day way down in 20th.

Ruben Xaus was the first of the BMWs, ending the test in 11th spot, two spots ahead of his teammate Troy Corser, but the fact that the S1000RRs are stuck in around the same position they finished last year must be worrying for the team's new manager Davide Tardozzi. But the BMW seems to be in better shape than the Yamaha. So far, the 2009 World Superbike title seems to have been more down to Ben Spies than to the YZR R1, with both James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow suffering with chatter. With a 12th and a 17th place, the Sterilgarda Yamaha team still has plenty to do.

As does the Kawasaki Racing Team. Chris Vermeulen ended the test as best of the Kawasakis, a lowly 16th place at his home track, and two spots ahead of his teammate Tom Sykes. Kawasaki is focusing its resources on the World Superbike series this year, and so far it seems that this focus has paid off mostly in the World Supersport class, where Joan Lascorz is consistently quick. Kawasaki may have to wait until the new ZX 10R is released, rumored to be using a big bang firing order, if they are to run at the front in WSBK again.

With testing now concluded, the teams have a couple of days' rest before reconvening at Phillip Island for the season opener next weekend. The wind which troubled Monday's afternoon session is abating, but the prospects for next weekend are not good. A rain front is predicted to hit the Island's coastline on Saturday, growing in intensity over the weekend and beyond. The 2010 World Superbike season could get off to a very damp start indeed.

Overall results from two days of testing at Phillip Island for the World Superbike class:

Pos. No. Rider Country Bike Time Diff Diff previous
1 84 M. Fabrizio ITA Ducati 1098R 1'31.650 0.000  
2 67 S. Byrne GBR Ducati 1098R 1'31.662 0.012 0.012
3 96 J. Smrz CZE Ducati 1098R 1'31.680 0.030 0.018
4 7 C. Checa ESP Ducati 1098R 1'31.959 0.309 0.279
5 65 J. Rea GBR Honda CBR1000RR 1'32.175 0.525 0.216
6 41 N. Haga JPN Ducati 1098R 1'32.247 0.597 0.072
7 91 L. Haslam GBR Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.279 0.629 0.032
8 3 M. Biaggi ITA Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1'32.474 0.824 0.195
9 2 L. Camier GBR Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1'32.621 0.971 0.147
10 76 M. Neukirchner GER Honda CBR1000RR 1'32.691 1.041 0.070
11 111 R. Xaus ESP BMW S1000 RR 1'32.714 1.064 0.023
12 52 J. Toseland GBR Yamaha YZF R1 1'32.781 1.131 0.067
13 11 T. Corser AUS BMW S1000 RR 1'32.819 1.169 0.038
14 57 L. Lanzi ITA Ducati 1098R 1'32.830 1.180 0.011
15 50 S. Guintoli FRA Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.869 1.219 0.039
16 77 C. Vermeulen AUS Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'32.870 1.220 0.001
17 35 C. Crutchlow GBR Yamaha YZF R1 1'32.880 1.230 0.010
18 66 T. Sykes GBR Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'33.202 1.552 0.322
19 88 A. Pitt AUS BMW S1000 RR 1'33.699 2.049 0.497
20 25 J. Brookes AUS Honda CBR1000RR 1'33.710 2.060 0.011
21 123 R. Resch AUT BMW S1000 RR 1'33.943 2.293 0.233
22 31 V. Iannuzzo ITA Honda CBR1000RR 1'34.945 3.295 1.002
23 15 M. Baiocco ITA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'35.663 4.013 0.718
24 95 R. Hayden USA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'35.763 4.113 0.100

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I think we're seeing a cultural divide in this pic- Fabrizio wants to indicate he's number one, bet ends up indicating something completely different...

I wonder how much of this is down to the tires. I remember Haga saying after Portimao (IIRC) that the Ducati prefers one of the Pirelli compounds much more than the others. If they are running the Ducati-friendly compound at PI, it might explain the podium whitewash.

In any event, they will probably be using this tire at PI in a week so it looks good for Ducati. Yamaha look to be in trouble.

Yeah, b/c this photo is the only reason to dislike Fabrizio, right? :-P

Everyone is free to either like or dislike a particular rider. However, discussions on that subject are tedious and not desired here on All of the regular posters are far too intelligent to engage in  the kind of fanboi/hater discourse that blights so many motorcycle racing message boards, as you have all proved time and time again with intelligent and interesting comments. There's no need for flame wars here.

Whatever you say, I am going to continue to resent Cardoso for getting that MotoGP ride that I should have gotten. If only I raced. And was fast. And weren't too old.

But besides being a better choice in every way, I am going to continue to hate the guy.

Just don't tell him that.

I agree that Fabrizio isn't someone too admirable after he dumped WCM for a short stint at Aprilia so many years ago. His interview posted here last year from Miller was pretty good at increasing his likability (to just below indifferent). I'm not sure if this shot helps or not. I'd imagine that one sponsor or another may try and use it to get out of paying up after having buyers remorse for their 2X4 cm patch of fairing space. But I think this joking side may have brought him up to par in my book.

,, too many times askew for it to be an indicator of "race finishing order",, some were obviously experimenting more than others. Haga is still the one to beat and Cruthchlow is still a top 5 bet along with Biaggi.
The only continued surprise are the Bimers. When you start out (in showroom stock) with the most horsepower of all of them, plus, have as many rocket scientist as any other team,, the mystery is why they still cannot get that power to the ground,,, or is it the riders???

I just checked my stats on and can confidently say it's not Corser holding the BMWs back. I remembered back to his crazy 2005 season where to took a pathetic GSXR from no podiums to 26 overnight! Not to mention he also put the Aprilia twin and Petronas on the pole as well. If he can't do the same with the BMW this year, it's not ready for prime time.

Can anybody enlighten me here. Are Ducati still running the 50mm intake restrictors and / or carrying the 6kg weight penalty over the fours, or have things changed 2010? Personally I think this test outcome may be a bit of a red herring for the season ahead. 4 cylinder HP will win out at the end. Jonny and the two Max's are my picks for being in the title hunt when it comes down to the wire. Much as sentimentality would love to see Nori-San achieve his much coveted title. Fabrizio - nothing wrong with the man. All those that 'blame' him for 'losing' Haga's title were grasping at straws. Just about every rider there's ever been has delivered a salute such as this to a photographer, with the probably exception of Freddie Spencer.

Motorcycles fall over if you don't go fast

I sometimes think people put too much stock into testing times. It’s not like a qualifying session. Different teams, and sometimes riders within a team, are testing different aspects of the bike. Haga was working on suspension setup, finished 6th but only 0.6 seconds behind Fabrizio.

I think the times set indicate a very competitive season coming up. I think the gap will grow between the factory Ducatis and the satellites as Ducati Corse develops updates Haga and Fabrizio will get first. That said I think Byrnes and Checa will be more competitive than the non-factory Ducatis last season. Just as last year, Rea on the Honda, Haslam now on a Suzuki and Biaggi’s Aprilia will be in the mix. Just behind are the teammates on the factory teams; Neukirchner, Guintoli and Camier. I think Sylvain Guintoli is going to surprise people this year. Right now he’s hanging around either just in or just out of the top ten. As I recall, he was blindingly fast in British SBK last year until he had the season ending injury. Sadly, I see BMW or Kawasaki, at best, fighting to get inside the bottom half of the top ten.

With no Spies around this season is a toss-up with no dominant rider or favorite. I think we’re going to be the beneficiaries of an exciting SBK season.

I forgot to mention in my previous post:


I am so having racing withdrawals. Sorry for shouting but I'm really excited.

I agree with waz above: this is going to be a competitive season, and I simply cannot wait. If the rain comes as predicted, we may even see a Kawasaki win in Superbikes!

Two questions: 1. How long has Fabrizio featured the 84=21x4 on his numberplate 2. Can anyone say definitively if Ducati are racing the 1098R or the 1198?

Sure enough, testing is testing and anything can happen come race day. Nori, for instance, always seems to perform on race day regardless of his qualifying efforts.
Ducati, Honda and Suzuki are pretty competitive. Max N was near a front runner on the gsxr until his big crash and that bike always looked a handful at the limit. The Aprilia's are about where they were most of the time last year, as are BMW and Kawasaki.
The major surprise is that neither James or Cal could put in the one fast lap that would have put them up front. They seem to be around where Sykes was last year. Tom did say last year that he thought Ben made the bike look good. He expected everyone to want a ride on it this year and he did intimate they should be careful what they wish for. I'm driving down for the weekend. Can't wait.

Not to take away from Spies' performance, but I think Sykes would generally place even higher on average than the current team. He's doing well given he's on the Kawasaki this year so I guess it could be a testament to him as well. Also, the nearly same bike whitewashed the BSB in 2009. The other teams and factories may have caught up a bit this year as well as some key personnel changes could be limiting the performance of the machine.

You could say that the 09 R1 made Sykes look bad as his rides as a BSB wildcard in 08, on the gsxr were much better, enough to get a contract for last year. As a team, Yamaha had both pre big bang bikes consistently closer to the front with Haga and Corser. We could be getting ahead of ourselves as the Yams were much better at the Portimao test (although I think they were 09 spec bikes).

The 1098R has had from the beginning the 1198cc engine. It did not share the same displacement engine as the 1098 and 1098S.

I know the displacement is the same, but the 1098R has a lot of upgrades that can't be made to an 1198. I know for sure the 1098R at least has a better crank and magnesium subframes.

Ducati definitely raced the 1098R with Bayliss in 2008, but since then, the homologation quantities have changed. I don't think the 1098R is made in sufficient quantities to qualify for WSBK, but it seems like most websites list it is 1098R even though the bikes says 1198.

I'm guessing the 1098R nomenclature is just a gimmick to help Ducati sell more expensive bikes, but Ducati may actually be producing the 1098R in sufficient quantities these days.

Unfortunately, I don't think the BMW & Kawasaki teams are going to be in the top half of the field for the most part come race day.

What a difference between this year and last when I was rooting for Ben and expecting him to turn the world on it's head, and now hoping Hayden can crack the top ten on a good day.

I just got done looking into detail this pic of Fabri, the #48 has a 21x4 little insert there, the 21 looks an awful lot like Casey's 21 and the 4 has an italian flag on it, DAVID, HEY DAVID, can you give me your opinion on that?