Press releases issued after the final World Superbike test at Phillip Island before the start of the 2016 season this weekend:
WorldSBK: Rea Rules On Day 2 But Sykes Tops Test
Honours split between Kawasaki pair on first and final days of Phillip Island testing
Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea set the fastest lap of the second and final day of testing in Phillip Island, after teammate and number one rival Tom Sykes had done the same on Day 1. Rea, who used the morning of the second day to focus on longer runs and race simulations due to doubt about the weather later in the afternoon, posted a best of 1'31.249, one and a half tenths back on Sykes' fastest of Day 1. With consistently impressive lap times throughout his longer runs, Rea is looking imperious as he tries to defend his crown.
Fastest during the afternoon session was 2014 Champion Sylvain Guintoli, with the Frenchman taking his new YZF R1 to the top of the timesheets and keeping it there, despite an earlier small crash. With defending champion Rea just behind him, it was Yamaha teammate Alex Lowes who then put in the third fastest lap, with the returning Japanese manufacturer therefore achieving two of the three fastest laps of the afternoon.
The rate of attrition remained high on Day 2 in both WorldSBK and WorldSSP, and red flags interrupted track time on several occasions. Crashes for Torres, Hook and Menghi saw the riders transported to the medical center and the red flag deployed. Althea BMW rider Jordi Torres escaped any fractures but injured his elbow; a small surgery is planned for tomorrow in Melbourne. Hook crashed at the Southern Loop and subsequent oil on track caused another red flag, with the Aussie suffering a left shoulder dislocation with greater tubercle fracture, and VFT rider Fabio Menghi then crashed at T11 close to the end of the session. The red flag was deployed once again and WorldSSP delayed slightly as the Italian was airlifted to Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, initially diagnosed at the circuit Medical Center before confirmation then came of an acetabular fracture (pelvis).
After two full days of action in WorldSBK, Tom Sykes' fastest lap from Day 1 remains the fastest of the test. With one Kawasaki blistering over one lap and one showing more consistency, who will come out on top in Round 1? Find out as the lights go out for the new era of WorldSBK on Saturday at 04:00 GMT, 3pm local time. Follow all the action on WorldSBK.com and on the free Live Experience App!
Testing Ends And New Season Begins Soon For KRT
KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes have now completed their final pre-season preparations on the new Ninja ZX-10R after the end of a two-day test session at Phillip Island in Australia – the venue for the first round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, which starts this coming weekend.
It was a highly successful test for both of Kawasaki’s official riders with Sykes fastest of all and Rea second quickest in a field of 25 machines. With ambient temperatures climbing to almost 40°C on the afternoon of the second day some of the fastest single lap times were set on Monday.
Sykes did his best of test 1’31.097 on Monday afternoon. Rea set his personal best, a 1’31.249, on the morning of day two and got close to it once more in this afternoon’s hot temperatures. With new rules allowing each rider to use only one bike at a time, but to have a spare machine ready to go in the event of trouble, Tom and Jonathan spent time making sure that both their bikes are ready for the coming weekend.
The second and final afternoon of action was also complicated by high winds, gusting at times, which pushed the riders down the home straight but made turning for the first sections of the track a complicated affair.
Several red flag incidents for incidents involving other riders interrupted the track action over both days but the KRT pit crews got through their final pre-season preparations in good order. Jonathan Tom and the entire KRT effort are now ready to face the first two races of the season - the opener on Saturday 27th and the second on Sunday 28th February. WorldSBK races will now run on consecutive days according to the revised 2016 race weekend format.
Tom Sykes stated: “There were a lot of stoppages for red flags over the course of two days but I think we are in a very good situation. We are fast with the cold conditions, warmer conditions, and also with some laps on the tyres. We have finished our two days of testing in a strong way, at a track that has been one of our limits in the past. Everything is definitely heading in the right direction and we have gathered some great information. I am happy to head into the race weekend now having completed a successful test. All we have to do now is get our heads together, have a brief summary of what we have done but on the whole we have made some key changes and put ourselves in a better position for the opening race weekend.”
Jonathan Rea stated: “We got pretty much everything done. It was challenging at times because the red flags came out while we were making a constant effort with some items but in general the two days have been pretty good. We had two different conditions; one cooler one on day one and then one very hot one with really high wind. That wind made getting across from turn two to turn three so difficult. All things considered, we ticked all the boxes we needed to and we managed to do a race simulation this morning. We are ready to go into the race weekend with a package I feel comfortable on. I am just super-excited because even though it is not that long a winter in WorldSBK it feels like forever since the final race of last year in Qatar. I just want to see the lights go out and get stuck in for 22 laps at one of the best circuits in the world.”
Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes’ Crew Chief, stated: “We did not get all the time we should have had for the many red flag interruptions but we came here with a good base bike from the winter tests. We made some key adjustments for this track and they worked out. Initially Tom showed good speed and also good speed over distance. Now we have two days to analyse all the steps we have made, which we will use on Friday for the first free practice session. Let’s go racing.”
Pere Riba, Jonathan Rea’s Crew Chief, stated: “We tried many different things with engines and chassis in the winter tests and we built our base bike. I guess we did a good job because since the first laps yesterday the base was working well and Jonathan was already there, running at a good pace. Because we have a new bike we still had some points to confirm here. In the end we reached the target. It was good that this morning was a little bit cooler because we made a long run and really understood a lot. In the afternoon, with the very high temperatures, there was less grip in the track - but we were able to ride with a similar lap time that we had with a lower temperature. This means we made a step forward. It seems to be positive and we will keep working.”
Other Kawasaki riders about to have their first taste of 2016 race action include Pedercini Racing pairing Saeed Al Sulaiti from Qatar and Frenchman Sylvain Barrier, plus the lone Go Eleven Ninja ZX-10R rider Roman Ramos. Dominic Schmitter from Switzerland and Aussie rider Josh Hook, in the Grillini Racing Team, complete the regular 2016 Kawasaki line-up but Hook has been ruled out of action for the opening weekend after a crash today in testing, having dislocated and injured his shoulder.
Testing is over, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to start the 2016 season in Phillip Island
After a first day of pre-season tests characterized by grey skies and intermittent rain, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team hit the track again in Phillip Island in radically different climatic conditions. The air temperature rose to as much as 38 degrees (41 Cº on the tarmac) and, in combination with strong winds, it made it progressively more difficult to find pure speed. To this end, both riders focused on race distance, and more specifically tyre wear on the notoriously demanding Australian track.
Davide Giugliano (85 laps overall) still managed to improve his lap times by four tenths of a second, finishing third in the combined time sheets, 0.303 seconds behind leader Tom Sykes. Chaz Davies, still slightly sore after yesterday’s crash, opted for a more cautious approach in the morning session and – as the vast majority of riders – could not improve his performance in the afternoon heat, closing the tests in tenth position overall (+0.581) with 97 laps to his tally.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action on Friday for the first official free practice of the 2016 season (scheduled for 10.15 local time, 00.15 CET).
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #34) – 1’31.400 (3rd)
“In general, I’m pretty happy about these tests. Especially, about the competitiveness shown this morning, when the climate conditions were similar to those that we should find during the race week-end. We just lack a bit of grip in the center of the corner. Unfortunately, I could not do a long-run in the afternoon because of the weather. The extreme heat does not suit a flowing riding style such as mine, and there were so many crashes and red flags that I preferred not take risks. Still, I managed to do 22 laps on the same tyre with a competitive pace.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1’31.678 (10th)
“In the morning I focused on getting back the feeling and confidence on the bike after crashing out towards the end of yesterday’s session. I also did a race simulation, whose results were quite good. Our gap from the leaders has been reduced, and honestly I think I could have pushed more, both myself and the Panigale R. In the afternoon it was impossible to improve the lap times, as the temperature went through the roof, but today the general goal was simply to verify the competitiveness of our package without crashing, so I feel confident ahead of the race week-end.”
Ernesto Marinelli, SBK Project Director
“These last two days of tests have been really important. Phillip Island is a peculiar track and it’s never easy to find a setup that allows the tyre to safely make the difference over the race distance. Davide, Chaz and their crews worked well, we’re still missing something in terms of a flying lap, but we’ve found a setup that allows us to be very consistent. I’d say that we laid a solid foundation for the upcoming race weekend. It won’t be easy and we’ll have to adapt to weather conditions, which can be pretty erratic as today has shown. Still, we’re confident we can do a good job, and we enthusiastically await the 2016 season opener.”
Guintoli Tops Final Session for Pata Yamaha at Phillip Island Pre-season Test
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team concluded two successful days of pre-season testing at Australia's Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit today as Sylvain Guintoli claimed the fastest time in the afternoon's final session with Alex Lowes sitting third.
Guintoli's lowside crash at turn two, with just over twenty minutes of the day's track time remaining, wasn't enough to keep the Frenchman from completing the session on top - his 1'31.940 set on his 14th lap. The number 50 rider continued the comprehensive work started with his Yamaha crew over the winter, fine tuning the chassis and electronics settings further across the eight hours of track time, and with 2016's opening race now just days away, his top-five position in the overall combined times leaves him positive for the season to come.
Lowes concentrated on adapting his riding style aboard the YZF-R1 to Phillip Island's demanding 4,445m circuit, while carefully testing his shoulder's fitness after his winter rehabilitation. Two months of hard work in the gym by the British rider matched that of the Crescent and Yamaha staff in the workshop, as Lowes concluded the two day's with 116 laps and a fastest time of 1'31.620 under his belt.
Careful progress and evolution over the winter by the Yamaha Motor Europe and Crescent technicians paved the way for a positive outcome to the collaboration's opening official engagement, as temperatures soared from Monday's high of 24°C, reaching 38°C by the mid-afternoon session and heating the asphalt to a blistering 41°C.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now have two days of final preparation ahead of them before Lowes and Guintoli return to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the opening race weekend of the 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, commencing on Friday 26th February.
"A good two days here at Phillip Island, the test has been really constructive. I've tried lots of solutions that are working well - we ended up getting closer and closer to the leaders and ended up topping the last session so that felt good! I had a small crash at the end but nothing to worry about. The pace was really good and I felt comfortable, probably a little bit too comfortable, but in the end it was all good. I'm looking forward to the weekend now, it will be good to get struck in and do some racing! This track really suits the character of the YZF-R1, the bike is fantastic to ride here - with the change of direction and the long, fast corners - it's really sweet and efficient to ride. It's really important for our work for the first two races now not to just concentrate on one-lap pace - as Phillip Island is a very long and demanding lap on the tyres - but we've done a good job so far. As for the crash I really needed to get that out of the way as I hadn't crashed at all during the winter tests in November and January so I needed to have one and that's done. Now we're ready to start racing!"
"I'm learning a lot here at Phillip Island. There is still a lot to do and I'm not riding the bike the way I need to round here, but it's going good. I felt better in the hot conditions this afternoon that I did this morning, so it's a bit difficult for me to understand clearly what has worked better as the track took quite a drop but overall I've learnt a lot. We are still continuing the work from the winter tests and concentrating on everything including my feeling with the bike and my riding style. I'm trying to take a step-by-step approach, not get carried away and not try too hard on testing as it's the first time I've been able to do some real laps since damaging my shoulder, so I'm happy about that and it doesn't feel too bad. I need to adapt my riding style more to the YZF-R1 so I still have quite a bit to learn but I'm hoping to peak at the right time come race weekend!"
Paul Denning Team Principal
"It's been a great pleasure to start working with Yamaha at this first official event of 2016. The Phillip Island test has a reputation for being brutal to both bike and rider so we are very pleased to have come through the two days with the YZF-R1 in quite competitive shape and two fit and motivated riders. Sylvain has been very comfortable and very competitive from the start and in eight hours of work, the only small issue he faced was a crash towards the end of Tuesday afternoon, but it hasn't dented his confidence or his fitness and even the bike escaped quite lightly which is unusual for Phillip Island.
"Alex has been a little bit less comfortable with the bike and has struggled to find as good a balance as Sylvain but has worked very methodically and very thoroughly with the Yamaha engineers and his own crew to take steps forward, which was reflected this afternoon.
"It really makes zero difference in terms of race result predictions but for Sylvain to be quickest and Alex third in the final session of testing here has been a very encouraging way to start Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team's inaugural season."
The Althea BMW Racing Team concludes testing at Phillip Island
Phillip Island (Australia), 23 February 2016
Against the stunning backdrop of the Phillip Island track in Australia, the Althea BMW Racing Team has concluded two days of testing immediately prior to the opening round of the Superbike World Championship.
Yesterday brought positive results for the two riders Jordi Torres and Markus Reiterberger, despite the unstable weather conditions with light rain showers interrupting both sessions, an air temperature of 24°C and 28°C track.
Initial work completed on the S 1000 RR bikes focused on corner speed considering this particular track and its fast turns.
Overnight rain and a more slippery track, as well as very hot weather accompanied by wind meant very different conditions today (38°C air, 41°C track), which caused several riders, including the Althea men in the morning session, to crash.
While Markus Reiterberger only really scraped his left elbow, Jordi Torres, who fell at the same corner (Turn 2), suffered a serious blow to his left elbow though fortunately it only required treatment and not surgery. Both riders were thus able to take part in the day’s second session.
“Yesterday was my first experience at this track and I quickly got to grips with the layout. It’s easy to learn but not so easy to go fast right away, in the end I was down in eleventh but the gap from first place was only 8 tenths (1’31.928).
Today was a difficult but important day, because we learned a lot testing new technical solutions on the bike, particularly in terms of electronics and chassis. The setting was not right but it allowed us to understand which path to take. I didn’t expect to crash and afterwards I didn’t feel very comfortable; then we changed the suspension and I closed the second session in fifth place and this has given me a morale boost ahead of the race weekend.”
“Yesterday we completed many laps and were able to learn a lot thanks to the information that the bike gave us. It was a solid test day that I finished in third position overall (1’31.526).
Today the track conditions were very different to yesterday and we had a lot of work to do. It was hotter, there was less grip and in the end I crashed – we still need to understand how that happened. When you’re getting to know a bike, you test things step by step and look for the limit… And sometimes a crash is how you find that limit! Anyway, I got back on the bike for session two and closed the test in sixth place overall.
With regard to one race on Saturday and another on Sunday, I’m not sure how it will go, having a night between the two. It’s a new experience and we’ll deal with it. All I know is we have one less session that would have been useful to me. I liked having both races on a Sunday, but we’ll see how this new formula works.”
“There are always a lot of risks involved in the opening round at Phillip Island and today’s crashes also involved our two riders. Fortunately, both Markus and Jordi, who crashed at Turn 2, will be able to take part in this weekend’s races.
The team, together with the engineers, further refined the chassis solutions that we tested previously with positive results, allowing our riders to build their confidence with the BMW S 1000RR bikes, which are gradually becoming more familiar and easier for them to interpret.
The lap times recorded by both riders, accidents aside, are indicative and show we are moving in the right direction, giving the engineers and riders a confidence boost.
Personally speaking, and having experienced so many wins at this track, I am once again excited and full of expectation.”
Team Honda WorldSBK makes further progress at Phillip Island official test
Phillip Island, Australia
The two-day WorldSBK official test has come to a close for the Honda WorldSBK team at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia. Nicky Hayden, Michael van der mark and the whole team are now ready to tackle the opening round of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship, which is scheduled to begin on Friday at the same venue.
The overall track time of eight hours for the test – split into four sessions – was significantly reduced by mixed weather and several red flags. After a first day marked by intermittent rain, today the temperatures rose considerably and reached a peak of 38°C in the air (41°C on the track) that translated into a dramatic change of conditions for the riders.
Michael van der Mark showed great speed in all conditions aboard his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP on the 4.445km fast and flowing Australian circuit, which last year was the stage for a stellar World Superbike debut for the flying Dutchman. The 2014 Supersport World Champion completed the highest number of laps for this test (123) and was fourth fastest with a lap time of 1’31.458.
Nicky Hayden got his first taste of Phillip Island on a Superbike ahead of his first race weekend as a full-time rider in the series. The 34-year-old American and his team tried different set-ups in terms of electronics, linkages, suspension and geometries, eventually finding a good base for the bike especially in cooler conditions. Hayden put in a total of 116 laps over the two days and his 1’31.558 placed him in seventh place overall.
The 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship will kick off on Friday at 10:15am local time (GMT +11) with the first free practice session.
Michael van der Mark 60
4th / 1'31.458
I’m really happy with how the test went. With the cooler conditions encountered yesterday we were able to be both fast and consistent and we’re really happy with that. This morning I was fast again but then we changed something on the bike and lost a bit of direction as the temperatures increased. We tried a race simulation that wasn’t perfect but towards the end of the day we made some further adjustments and the bike felt much better. I now know that we can be fast in both warmer and cooler conditions and this makes me confident for the opening round here.
Nicky Hayden 69
7th / 1'31.558
The test started really well and I was able to get up to speed quite quickly, despite the different behaviour of the tyres compared to the ones I used on this track in the past. We made few further adjustments that proved to be positive and the overall feeling wasn’t too bad. This afternoon I struggled a lot because of the high temperatures and we tried to make a long run, but it was really too hot; there is definitely some work to do in understanding the bike and the tyres in these conditions. It hasn’t been the perfect test for us because of yesterday’s rain and all the red flags today which messed up my rhythm. The team has worked amazingly hard, and they all did a great job. Hopefully we can make good use of the next two days to analyse the data and finalise the preparation for the weekend.
It has been a positive test despite the conditions and many stoppages. Michael performed really well and no doubt he had a very good test. He quickly got up to speed and stayed in the top positions over the course of the two days. He went through a lot of settings and configurations and that gave us valuable information – especially on tyre behaviour. When it got really hot today we tried some electronic configurations to preserve the tyres and we did a long run as well. Michael is definitely ready for the weekend. Nicky needed more time to get to grips with the track on this bike and to get some much needed experience on what is still a new type of tyre for him. At the end of the first day he put together a fast lap that was kind of a breakthrough and only 1/10th of a second off Michael’s best, while on the second day he had a bit of a harder time due to the extreme conditions encountered in the afternoon. Overall we are confident for the weekend ahead and we are looking forward to it.
WorldSSP: Superstar Sofuoglu Sees Off Rookie Krummenacher On Day 2
4-time WorldSSP Champion fastest on second and final day
Kenan Sofuoglu has laid down another marker in the second and final WorldSSP test session ahead of the first Round of the season. Setting his fastest lap in the final session, the Turkish rider managed a 1’33.786, keeping himself 0.669 seconds clear of nearest challenger Lorenzo Zanetti. The third fastest in the final session was Sofuoglu´s teammate Randy Krummenacher, who was fastest on Day 1, ahead of Wahr and Baldolini. Jules Cluzel, although finishing the day in third on the combined times, ended FP2 in eighth position.
Red flags and rain again interrupted proceedings, with big crashes for Jezek and Stapleford. The test sessions for both WorldSBK and WorldSSP at Phillip Island have seen high rates of attrition and injury, with several riders finding themselves in doubt for the first races of the season.
Sofuoglu however seems to have found a consistent margin above the pace of his rivals, with the 4 time Champion looking supremely confident on the final approach to the first round of the WorldSSP Championship this weekend. However, rookie teammate Randy Krummenacher did outpace him with a lap on Day 1, which remains the fastest overall.
Will it be a season of old rivals or one of new nemeses? Testing is now over and WorldSSP kicks off this weekend, with lights out for the first time at 2.30 GMT, 13.30 local time! Follow everything on WorldSBK.com and @WorldSBK on Twitter!
Successful Final Test For Sofuoglu And Krummenacher
The combination of reigning FIM Supersport World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and his new 2016 team-mate Randy Krummenacher was a strong one during the final pre-season test at Phillip Island in Australia. Krummenacher, an experienced Moto2 rider but a WSS rookie, was fastest over the two days and Sofuoglu went second quickest on the timesheets.
In all, the WSS riders had four long sessions to make their final pre-season preparations for a new era in this category of racing. New technical regulations mean more limits have been imposed in the electronics packages on the 2016 specification Supersport race machines, which will ensure that the class will be even more streetbike-focused.
Working from the strong base of the roadgoing Ninja ZX-6R the top Kawasaki team has made consistent race set-up improvements over the winter months, including a swap of suspension supplier.
On the eve of the new season both Puccetti Racing competitors are ready for the new look two-part Superpole competition, to be held on Saturdays. There will still be a single race on Sundays, with the scheduled 18-lap event at PI taking place on 28th February.
Randy Krummenacher stated: “It was a hard day today and we tried many, many things. We have a lot of data and now we just need to get everything clear for the first practice session on Friday. We have to sort out a few things but in general this test was very positive. For sure yesterday was a bit better than today but we will keep on working. I am still learning a lot and if the conditions change maybe I cannot adapt as quickly as Kenan right now. I just need to learn a bit more, to understand the conditions and push in the right direction.”
Kenan Sofuoglu stated: “As always I am working for the race and in these two days of testing I used old tyres. I did one long run and I was very fast on used tyres. This is a positive thing and today we worked a lot on the bike set-up. Because we have new suspension for 2016 we tried some new material again and we got a very good improvement in the braking area, and some improvement in grip. In bad conditions we made good improvements in the lap time so if the conditions are good we should be very fast. Now we are just waiting for Friday morning and the first session.”
Other notable Kawasaki riders in the Supersport World Championship in 2016 come from the Go Eleven team, in the shape of Christian Gamarino and Ondrej Jezek. Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Nacho Calero from the Orelac Racing VerdNatura squad and Lachlan Epis from the Response RE Team are also ambitious Kawasaki competitors in 2016.