A group of World Superbike riders - past, present and future - have had the first day of testing at Misano today, ahead of the next World Superbike round at Imola in 12 days' time. Fastest man of the day was Marco Melandri, the Yamaha rider setting a time of 1'36.0, half a second under the current lap record held by Carlos Checa set during the race at the track in June this year. Checa was two tenths quicker than his own lap record, but fell three tenths behind Melandri's time, while Melandri's teammate Eugene Laverty posted the same time as the Althea Ducati rider.
There was much interest in the arrival of Toni Elias. The reigning Moto2 champion has struggled miserably aboard the LCR Honda, his riding style not gelling with the Bridgestone tires, and his crew unable to solve his problems, and Elias is now close to finalizing a deal to ride a BMW in World Superbikes next season. Elias was 2.1 seconds slower than Melandri on his first outing on the BMW Italia machine vacated by James Toseland, a reasonably good result for his first time on the WSBK-spec Pirellis. Elias did face a couple of hurdles in adapting to the tires, including a harmless crash earlier in the day. Elias was 1.3 seconds slower than regular BMW Italia rider Ayrton Badovini, and a better measure of Elias' fit in World Superbikes should come tomorrow, once Elias has had a little time on the bike.
Testing continues tomorrow.
Unofficial test times, courtesy of WorldSBK.com: