Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes has started the 2016 world superbike season with the fastest time in opening practice at Phillip Island this morning.
Sykes’ best lap was 1min31.543secs in the 60-minute session, with the 2013 world champion followed on the timesheets by two other world champs in the 25-rider field: 2014 top gun Sylvain Guintoli (Yamaha) and reigning No. 1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki).
Times were incredibly close between the WorldSBK top guns in FP1, with just 0.379secs separating the top 10 and less than a second between the top 13.
Briton Leon Camier was fourth, impressively slashing over one second off his best time at Phillip Island testing earlier this week on the factory MV Agusta.
World No. 2 Chaz Davies was fifth from new WorldSBK signing Nicky Hayden (Honda), German rookie Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad), Michael van der Mark (Honda), Davide Giugliano (Ducati) and Alex Lowes (Yamaha).
Aussies Mike Jones (Ducati) and Josh Brookes (BMW Motorrad) were 15th and 18th respectively.
The second practice session will be held at 1:30pm this afternoon.
Tickets available at gate for this weekend’s Yamaha Finance round, of the 2016 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship or www.ticketek.com.au