Biaggi Fastest On First Day Of Phillip Island WSBK Test

Whichever hemisphere the World Superbike riders choose to test, finding somewhere warm and dry remains an almost impossible task. While BMW, Suzuki and Honda shelter from the rain in Portugal, Aprilia and Yamaha are circulating in less than ideal conditions at Phillip Island in Australia. Though the track was dry, Max Biaggi described conditions as "like winter," according to

Despite the cold, it was Biaggi who as the fastest on the first day of the test. The 2010 World Superbike champion tested the 2011 Ohlins forks (which he liked) and some Pirelli race tires (which it was too cold to make a judgement on), as well as working on the Aprilia RSV4's engine, now reduced to using chain-driven cams again, after the rule permitting the fitting of a gear drive for the overhead cams was changed, making them illegal again. Yamaha newcomer - and World Supersport runner up - Eugene Laverty was 2nd fastest, half a second off the Italian's time, and four tenths ahead of his new teammate, former MotoGP rider Marco Melandri. Biaggi's teammate Leon Camier brought up the rear of the field, just over a second slower than his Aprilia teammate.

Unofficial times from the test:

Max Biaggi Aprilia 1'32.4
Eugene Laverty Yamaha 1'32.9
Marco Melandri Yamaha 1'33.3
Leon Camier Aprilia 1'33.5

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Thanks for that David. I didn't know it was official. I never did see much advantage in it anyway, other than as a durability advantage and repeatability edge. Just comparing my old tower shaft/bevel gear Ducs with the belt driven ones. Mind you I'm still in carburettor era.
Good to see Laverty on Melandri's pace this quickly in conditions that Marco once revelled in at Philip Island in GP a couple of years back. Camier,no doubt a little ring rusty,but close.Max being very workmanlike,not resting on his laurels.
Good stuff.

The question is how much power are they going to "give up"?
With gear driven cams, you are able to run much closer PTV, which in theory allows for larger and/or more radical cam profiles.
Having no special access to these engines, I dont have any inside information about cam timing on these engines, but it stands to reason that if they ran them all year that there was a size-able advantage and no down side.

Interesting to note that the RC51's gear driven valvetrain gave HRC problems that were difficult for them to overcome. Harmonics introduced in the race-kit gears had a habit of snapping cam shafts, until a suitable material was sourced.

Interesting indeed.