2015 Phillip Island WSBK Test Day 2 Press Releases

Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the final test ahead of this weekend's season opener at Phillip Island:

Lowes ends official test at Phillip Island on top

Tuesday 17 February 2015 – The second day of testing ahead of Sunday first two eni FIM Superbike World Championship races of the 2015 season saw Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) better his own time from yesterday, ending the day in top spot, 0.070s under last year’s race lap record.

This morning’s first test ended with some impressive performances from a number of World Superbike rookies, especially Spanish riders Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) who finished 2nd and Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati) who was 8th.

After 8 hours of on-track action and as testing concluded over 2000 laps had been completed by the 25 entered riders across both days.

Behind Lowes, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Jordi Torres completed the top 3, the trio covered by only 0.112s.

With Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Chaz Davies (Aruba Ducati SBK) completing the top six on combined times, and with 7 manufacturers in the top 13, the scene is set for the opening race of WorldSBK 2015.

Davide Giugliano (Aruba Ducati SBK) was not in action on day two, while Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) made an appearance this afternoon, both riders suffered crashes yesterday.

Former World Champion Sykes suffered a crash as the test entered its final hour but was able to rejoin the action as did reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Supersport) who tumbled while on a personal improving lap in the final eight minutes. Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia) suffered a high speed crash entering the Gardner Straight but was able to walk away from the incident, unlike 12 months ago when he suffered a similar crash at the same corner. Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Team Ducati) joined the list of fallers, the Argentine rider’s condition will be reviewed on Thursday.

The on-track action is set to resume on Friday with the opening Free Practice sessions which will officially start the 2015 WorldSBK season.

World Supersport

As day two of official World Supersport testing drew to a close at an overcast yet dry Phillip Island it was 2014 round one winner Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and his team mate Lorenzo Zanetti who will head into Friday’s opening Free Practice sessions as the ones to beat after both riders dipped below the existing race lap record for the class, Cluzel producing a stunning 1.32.967s lap – the first ever sub 1.33s lap.

The cooler and less windy conditions ensured that all of the World Supersport contenders could maximise the track time available to them and despite a few spots of rain during the morning test almost every rider posted a faster time than on the opening day.

Behind the flying MV Agusta duo it was former multiple champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who gave chase in a solid 3rd position overall, a fraction of a second ahead of the current STK600 Champion Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing) who impressed in 4th on his Phillip Island debut.

French sensation Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Intermoto PonyExpres) and American team mate PJ Jacobsen rounded the top 6 of two days of testing that has many people now predicting a close and hard fought 2015 World Supersport campaign.

Ratthapark Wilairot adjusted to his CORE Motorsport Thailand Honda machine moving up to 7th overall while WSS returnee Alex Baldolini elevated himself into 10th aboard his privately entered Race Department ATK#25 MV Agusta.

Lowes and Suzuki fastest in final testing at Phillip Island

A confident Alex Lowes concluded the final World Superbike pre-season test at Phillip Island in Australia today as the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racer claimed the quickest time overall.

Continuing his stellar work from the opening day, the 24-year-old British racer preserved his place at the top of the timesheets in Tuesday's morning test, setting a 1'30.859 on his 10th lap. With the first of the 2015 race-specification Yoshimura-prepared engines fitted to his Suzuki GSX-R machine, Lowes returned to the track for the final two hour stint, undertaking a further 40 laps – bringing his total to 116 for the two days – his earlier time enough to retain him the front-running position.

Suffering from the previous day's turn 11 high-side, Randy de Puniet missed out on initial track-time to allow for scans on his tailbone and lower back. Cleared for action, and despite the pain, the Frenchman completed 15 Laps on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 before retiring for further medical intervention and is confident of his recovery for the weekend ahead.

A grey and overcast Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit greeted the World SBK riders for the second day of official testing with ambient temperatures reaching a gentle 22°C. The cooler conditions saw little change to the top five across the 48 hours as Lowes, heading two of the four sessions, retained the fastest overall times on both outings.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will continue at the Australian circuit for the remainder of the week in preparation for the first round of 2015 competition on Sunday 22nd February, with the opening free practice session scheduled for 11:45hrs local time (00:45GMT) on Friday 20th.

Alex Lowes:

“We’ve had a good day and got through a detailed test programme, there’s not too much that we wanted to try that we haven’t really, so it’s been a difficult two days for the mechanics working really hard! The GSX-R is pretty good now, we’ll make a few changes over the weekend depending on the temperature and some minor things to try with electronics and the chassis but the biggest improvement still to come is from me and I know a few areas I can ride differently. I enjoyed it a lot today, did a race-run, put a lot of effort in and tried to keep within the limits. Thanks to the lads for all the hard work, hopefully we’ll keep progressing over the race weekend.”

Randy de Puniet:

“Nothing much to tell, the good news is nothing is broken but my back is very swollen. I had an examination today and everything looks ok. I tried to complete some laps this afternoon to get an idea of the feeling for Friday but it was so painful I only did 15 laps and decided to stop for medical treatment after one hour. Tomorrow and Thursday I will seek further treatment to try to reduce the pain but I’m confident that it will just get better day by day.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“This final test before the start of the 2015 Championship has been very good, and very disappointing all at the same time. For Alex, the test couldn’t have gone a lot better – even on a difficult day yesterday with some issues, he worked very calmly and ended the day fastest overall. Today, things went much smoother and Alex was again fastest and more importantly very competitive on his long runs – 31.0 on a 10-lap old tyre is a very good sign for the races to come.

“Randy made a big effort to ride this afternoon but the pain, and the restriction in his movement, made it impossible to go fast. However, the rebuilt bike has now been tested for a few laps and everything worked well, and Randy has 2 full days of treatment before Friday to reduce the considerable swelling and get more movement in his lower back.

“We used our race engines this afternoon and they performed very well - thanks to Yohei and his team at Yoshimura for doing such a good job within the new regulations. The whole Crescent Racing team is gelling very well and working as a true team, with the technical staff supporting both riders wherever possible. It looks like the GSX-R still has the legs to run with the pack, so we are looking forward to the race weekend and to making a solid start to the season.”

Pata Honda completes winter testing

The Pata Honda World Superbike team has completed its preparations for the 2015 World Superbike championship season with a two-day official test at Phillip Island ahead of this weekend’s opening round at the Australian track.

For reigning champion, Sylvain Guintoli, it was the first time back on his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP since a big testing crash at Jerez in Spain three weeks ago in which the 32-year-old French rider sustained back, neck and ankle injuries.

Guintoli worked on a number of electronics and chassis settings over the two-day Phillip Island test in a bid to make up for time lost to bad weather in two other European winter tests last month.

His Pata Honda team-mate, Michael van der Mark, has continued his acclimatization to the bigger CBR machine having stepped up to World Superbikes after winning last season’s World Supersport title on Honda’s CBR600RR.

The 22-year-old Dutch ace continued work on base chassis and electronics settings and is looking forward to competing in his debut World Superbike event at the 4.445km Phillip Island this weekend (20-22 February).

2015 World Superbike championship, round one

Phillip Island, Australia - event schedule (local times GMT +11):

Friday 20 February
11.45-12.30 – Free practice 1
13.45-14.30 – Free practice 2

Saturday 21 February
09.45-10.30 – Free practice 3
12.30-13.00 – Free practice 4
15.00-15.15 – Superpole 1
15.25-15.40 – Superpole 2

Sunday 22 February
09.20-0935 – Warm-up
12.00 – Race 1
14.40 – Race 2

Sylvain Guintoli - best time 1m32.220s

We’re working hard and I’m actually feeling quite upbeat tonight, despite being quite a way down on time. It was important to get back on the bike here because obviously at the last test I didn’t get any track time, so almost no winter testing. I missed out on some good conditions in Jerez and I had to rebuild my confidence as well after that massive crash there. I had a little off today as well, which, in a way was quite good and it kind of woke me up at the end of the second day!

Michael van der Mark - best time 1m31.854s

I’m really excited now because I love racing more than testing! I think everyone’s the same but we needed this test and I have a good feeling now. Most of the time for me has been making laps, and lap-by-lap I’ve improved. It’s quite difficult - everyone is really fast and I’m still learning, but that’s the way we have to do it. We’ve had two quite good days and tried a lot of things and we’ve seen which things work and which things don’t, so I’m looking forward to starting the race weekend.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

We were quite relieved to see that Sylvain was fit enough to ride yesterday. He is still not 100%, but he was able to complete all the testing, which was good. We tried a lot of chassis set-ups and electronics settings and at the end he had a very small crash. That was unfortunate because he was just preparing for a fresh set of tyres to improve his time. We need to sort through all the data now and pick a base with which to start the race weekend, when hopefully he’ll be fitter, too. Michael had a good test, especially this morning when he was quite fast. He couldn’t improve his time any more this afternoon so we’ll analyse the data to see why that was. We've got some work to do before the weekend, but we're all looking forward to it.

Testing Ends In Australia As New Season Dawns For KRT

Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished their two-day Phillip island test sessions in second and fourth places respectively. More importantly each is now well prepared to face the challenge of two 22-lap races on Sunday 22nd of February.

After many changes to the technical regulations for the 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship this final test against all their competitors allowed new signing Rea and long-time Kawasaki rider Sykes to measure themselves in terms of pure speed over one lap, and full race pace.

Both riders are confident in their performance on used tyres and have declared themselves ready to enter race weekend, which commences with the first practice sessions on Friday 20th February.

Over two days of dry testing at PI, with a cooler and overcast second day, Rea completed a total of 139 laps, more than any other rider. He was one of only three competitors under the 1’31 second mark, setting a 1’30.880 best lap in the last of four individual track sessions.

Sykes had the misfortune to crash at the very fast final corner this afternoon but escaped without injury. He jumped on his spare Ninja ZX-10R and still posted impressive times right to the end, with his best of 1’31.075 a strong performance at a circuit he has never felt to be one of his favourites. He completed a total of 127 laps over the two days.

The two 22-lap races at the 4.445km long Phillip Island circuit next Sunday will form the first round of a 13-round season, which will also take in races in Thailand, Malaysia, America and Qatar, as well as several rounds in Europe.

Jonathan Rea: “I am happy to go into race weekend like this, although we still have some things to work on. It is just a bit of an unknown really so I am just working with my guys on the bike and trying to focus on going as fast as we can for all 20-laps. I was able to do a long run today and was able to keep most of the laps in the 1’31s. I do not know how competitive that is going to be but for now it is a start and we have that information to work with. We have done all the testing we can do, so I am happy that race weekend is coming. All the anticipation and excitement is there but we do not have to wait long now. I am looking forward to the lights going out on race day. Definitely, this is the best position we have ever been in at the start of a season.”

Tom Sykes: “In general I am relatively happy and we set some good lap times at the end on used tyres. We have got a little bit of thinking to do now to decide our final direction for the race weekend and it is not a bad situation to be in, even though I had a very strange crash today. As I entered the last corner I felt OK but then I lost the rear quite easily. I tried to correct it and when I did it reacted and threw me over the high side. The boys worked really well and they were able to get out on the second bike, on a different set-up, so I was able to gather more information. Phillip Island is not ‘my’ circuit so to be so fast over race distance is promising. Credit to the boys and Kawasaki for giving me what I need. The Ninja ZX-10R is working well and if it does what I want it to then we can have a good race weekend.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, commented: “I am happy because before we came here I am sure everybody was thinking where we would be at this test. The rules have changed in the Superbike class and we have less power compared to last year. Some of our rivals are also going well - but we are in there. We have a lot of information after these two days to help us on race weekend. We have good information about the tyres because they are quite critical at this track. We made a long run and we understood many things after that. We also continue to understand Jonathan more each day because he has not been with us in the team for such a long time. We are looking for the best set-up for him. I believe the person who wins the races here will be the one who manages the tyres best and there will be four or five fast riders. But the most important thing is to manage all 22-laps.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Tom Sykes, commented: “These two days were very interesting because we are closer to the top than we expected. After the rule changes for this year we expected the gap to be bigger but the inline fours are ruling so far. The crash only lost us 20 minutes of the session so it was not that bad. We had only a very few items left over from Jerez to test and Phillip Island is a slightly different track. We managed to re-evaluate them and on every set of tyres we did close to race distance or full race distance. Our pace was one of the best. Our ‘ideal’ lap time is one of the fastest as well. We are ready for race weekend but from the test to the race still things may change. Every year that is the same situation but we are ready and looking forward to Friday.”

Final day of testing for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team and Davies at Phillip Island

Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 17 February 2015 – The final pre-season tests have concluded for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team and rider Chaz Davies at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island, with positive results. The team confirms that unfortunately Davide Giugliano will be unable to race this coming weekend.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team and factory rider Chaz Davies made the most of the dry conditions (air temperature 22°C, track 32°C), working hard to make final preparations ahead of the opening round of the 2015 Superbike World Championship.

Giugliano, who suffered a highside at the start of yesterday afternoon’s session, was transferred to Alfred Hospital in Melbourne where a CAT scan unfortunately revealed fractures of the L1 and L2 vertebrae. As a result, the team confirms that unfortunately the Italian rider will be unable to participate in the opening round of the 2015 championship this coming weekend. At this time the team does not plan to substitute Davide with any other rider at Phillip Island and counts on him being able to take part in Round 2 in Thailand next month.

On track today Davies and his technicians focused on race distance with a view to Sunday’s two 22-lap races. In this morning’s session, Davies found good pace, improving both his feeling with the Ducati Panigale R and his lap times. He ended the session in fifth position, with a best time of 1’31.296, almost a second faster than his best time set yesterday.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike rider then carried out series of laps in the final session to better understand tyre durability, before concluding the tests in overall sixth position. Satisfied with the results achieved so far, Davies will return to the track on Friday to take part in the first timed practice sessions of Round 1 of the 2015 championship.

Quotes at the end of testing:

Chaz Davies – (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7)

“This morning we made a couple of positive steps forward and, by modifying the front end of the bike, I was able to find the feeling that I was missing yesterday afternoon. I put together a series of laps this afternoon and am feeling fairly confident in terms of race distance but we need to take the positives from this morning’s session and move in that direction. We’ve definitely got a lot done here and I feel like we are a lot clearer about what’s working and what’s not, which is obviously a great way to finish the tests. When we return to the track on Friday I hope we can concentrate on the best that we’ve found in these tests and take it from there.”

Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #34)

“It won’t be easy to follow the first two races of the season as a spectator. It’s a real shame because I was feeling comfortable with the bike and the development work begun here was going really well. What can I say? Luckily my physical condition is not so serious and this is the most important thing. Unfortunately I have to sit out the Phillip Island races and now I must focus on recovering in order to get back on track as soon as possible.”

Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director

“Davide’s crash has come as a blow right before the opening round but unfortunately this is racing and we know these things can happen. The important thing is to understand the treatment he needs in order to be back on the bike as quickly as possible. The tests have provided us with a great deal of information, we’ve introduced some new components at the rear of the bike and developed the set-up as a result with some positive feedback from our riders. The races here at Phillip Island will be tough, as ever, but we’ll do our best to be as prepared as possible.”

Positive Final Pre-Season Test For Kawasaki Puccetti Team

Kenan Sofuoglu and Marco Faccani made their final preparations for the beginning of 2015 FIM Supersport World Championship campaign after two days of positive testing experiences at Phillip Island in Australia on 16 and 17 February.

At the 4.445km circuit, located in the extreme south of the State of Victoria, Sofuoglu posted a best of 1’33.555 - good enough for third place overall.

His team-mate Faccani was riding at Phillip Island for the very first time. Although he found it a difficult circuit, and fell near the end of the final session, he was still an impressive fourth fastest overall with a best lap time of 1’33.930.

Ninja ZX-6R riders filled the places from third to sixth – a good sign for all Kawasaki riders with the first race of the year coming along very soon.

The championship begins in a few days time, with first practice on Friday 20th February and raceday will be on Sunday 22nd February.

This year Sofuoglu will be out to score his fourth WSS championship success in this category having been the champion in 2007, 2010 and most recently with Kawasaki in 2012.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “We started very well yesterday and today we were not thinking about working on lap times but working on set-up and electronics for race pace. The times then improved for everybody so I also needed to improve and understand, pushing harder. When I did I started to get some different problems that I did not expect. For the race there will be a new tyre option compared to the ones we used in the test, and hopefully with that we will have less rear chatter.”

Marco Faccani: “I am happy because Phillip Island is a new track for me and very difficult. We worked well inside the team and we ended up with a good configuration on the bike. It was a positive test here even though I had a big crash near the end, at the second turn. I am OK, not injured.”

Manuel Puccetti: Team Manger: “Third and fourth position was not so bad for the last pre-season test at Phillip Island. Kenan did many race simulations and made very, very good times. Marco also had a positive performance, only one big crash at the end, but for the first time here he was immediately fast. So far so good and we could have a positive race weekend, I think.”


Phillip Island, Tuesday 17 February 2015: The two-day official test session that traditionally precedes the opening round of the Superbike World Championship, now in its 28th year, concluded today at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island.

Team Althea Racing made the most of these two days on track, continuing with the positive trend already seen in previous winter test sessions and testing various solutions in order to be as prepared as possible for the opening races of the 2015 season.

Nico Terol and his technicians concentrated on race pace, despite the fact that some small technical issues slowed him down at the critical moment, which prevented him from further improving on his best time, but with a bit if optimism he’ll soon move up the timesheets. Matteo Baiocco, who prior to these tests hadn’t ridden at this track for five years, worked hard to get to grips with the track, testing various solutions to find the kind of fast race pace that he is still missing.

Yesterday, in hot and dry conditions, the team ended the day, on board their Ducati Panigale R bikes, with Nico Terol in tenth position (1’32.425) and Matteo Baiocco 15th (1’33.477).

Conditions were different today, with cloud cover and even some light rain in certain sections of the track during the morning’s session. Conditions improved for the afternoon session, which saw Nico Terol finish eighth (1’31.593), and Matteo Baiocco 15th (1’32.761).

There is now a two-day break before the team returns to the track on Friday for the first sessions of the season opener.

Comments at the end of the two-day test:

Genesio Bevilacqua: “Returning to Australia is always a pleasure, and seeing the riders so pumped up and motivated I felt I had to warn them to keep calm, considering the fact that this is always a tough and, at times, dangerous test. We therefore carried out preparation work ahead of the races. In the case of Nico Terol, also thanks to the fact that he raced here only a few months ago, immediately found good rhythm and continued to make progress, despite being on a new bike. Matteo Baiocco had a little more trouble but it’s only normal to need some time to prepare for the races when you’ve been away from international racing for a while. He nevertheless demonstrated towards the end of the session that he is confident and certain that there is still room for improvement.”

Nico Terol: “I’m pleased with how these two days of tests at Phillip Island have gone. We’ve done a good job, our pace is good, having recorded lap times that were more or less in line with my expectations. I really like the bike and I see that I still have room for improvement, and this is important and something I will concentrate on during the sessions on Friday and Saturday, doing my best to improve on my times. I have good feeling, the team has worked very well and I want to do a good job, starting from Friday, in order to prepare as well as possible for the races.”

Matteo Baiocco: “These have been two key days for me as I hadn’t been to Phillip Island for a few years and it’s a difficult track at which I’ve always struggled. In the end, despite some difficulties, I’m fairly pleased because I’ve been able to maintain a 1’32 kind of pace. My aim for the upcoming races is to be inside the top ten, I think I have the pace with which to be able to achieve that and perhaps even do something more.”

Kyle Smith ready for World Supersport debut

World Supersport debutant Kyle Smith has completed his first test on the Pata Honda World Supersport CBR600RR machine and is now looking forward to this weekend’s opening round at Phillip Island in Australia.

The 23-year-old British rider stepped up to world championship competition after competing in last season’s European Superstock 1000 series and has never ridden at the iconic 4.445km Phillip Island circuit.

However, Smith is satisfied with his first outings with his new team and relishing the opportunity of riding the CBR600RR that won last season’s World Supersport championship in the hands of Dutch rider Michael van der Mark.

Kyle Smith - best time 1m34.482s

Yeah, I’m happy with this test. We progressed a lot yesterday and today and the lap time dropped, which is good. Obviously, you always want more and towards the end of today’s session we tried a bunch of stuff with the bike but didn’t manage to make the little step forward that we wanted. I’d like to be a couple of tenths faster to be a little higher but I’m happy with the progression we’ve made. I think we can be there on Friday but we’ve learned an awful lot these last two days. It’s a new bike and a new track for me, but I think I can be faster again on Friday. There’ll definitely be a lot more of an attack mentality for the race weekend!

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

It’s been our first outing with our new rider, Kyle, and it’s also his first time here at Phillip Island and on our CBR machine. There is an awful lot to learn of course, and he made good progress yesterday. This morning he improved his time by more than a second over yesterday. We tried a few things but kept the bike quite close to the base with which we won last year and it seems to be the correct base to work from. That’s positive because we can use all the data for the rest of this season. Kyle is a good guy to work with – he’s really relaxed and we’re looking forward to our first race weekend with him.




Phillip Island (Australia), 17 February 2015 – The Superbike 2015 season opened up as usual with two days of testing on the Phillip Island track where the first two races of the season will be held on Sunday. These were two essential days of testing for the Aprilia Racing – Red Devils team following a winter break where the two new riders astride the RSV4 world champion bike often ran into unfavourable weather conditions.

But yesterday and today Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres were able to get quite a bit of work done together with their respective teams to gain familiarity with the Superbike from Noale and explore all the possible settings.

The thirty-one year old English rider took on these tests focusing particularly on tyre wear, a vitally important factor for the races here at Phillip Island. In fact, the long sweeping turns and the fast nature of the track require specific consideration of this aspect, both in terms of setup and riding style. At the end of the two days Haslam expressed his satisfaction with the work done in this area, well aware of the fact that there will be time on Friday and Saturday to take full advantage of his Aprilia RSV4's full potential.

Leon Haslam: “Another positive day. This morning we tried a lot of new things over a long run and this afternoon we focused on fine tuning everything, testing more new changes without pushing to the limit to try and find our best lap time. I'm pleased with the job we did during these two days and I'm confident for the first race weekend. We still have the Friday and Saturday practice sessions which we will use to further improve some aspects of the setup and the electronics, but I'm confident that we will be very competitive in the races.”

For rookie Jordi Torres, making his début in the category, the two days of testing were also quite positive. The Spaniard improved lap by lap, increasing his familiarity with the RSV4 and working a lot on finding the best riding style for this type of bike. On a fast and demanding track like Phillip Island Torres ended the two days with the third best time (fastest lap 1’30.971) despite having lapped on used tyres for most of the sessions. This is an important calling card just a few hours from his first World Superbike race weekend. He also had a crash about an hour before the tests ended. After a highside on turn 11 Jordi suffered a slight abrasion to a finger, but nothing that will compromise his race.

Jordi Torres: “At the end of the day I'm satisfied, even if there are still a lot of aspects I need to understand better, such as the braking sections or the “tight” ride this bike requires. The RSV4 rides well, the team works great and I don't think that even the crash today will create any big problems in terms of confidence. It was a shame to have to stop the tests early because there were still a few important things to try in order to further adapt my riding style to the bike. We need to continue working like this in order to improve lap by lap.”


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