Spaniard Alvaro Bautista has continued his impeccable form around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Friday opening practice for the season-opening Yamaha Finance round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
After topping the final pre-season test earlier this week, Bautista’s rich vein of form on the all-new Ducati Panigale V4 R continued today when he produced a searing 1min30.327sec lap in the second 50-minute session.
Bautista, the 2006 125 GP world champion before going onto race successfully in the 250cc and MotoGP ranks, was one of 11 riders in the 19-rider field to better his time in the second outing.
World champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) wasn’t one of those, but not from a lack of trying as he pushed his ZX-10RR to the limit in the final five minutes.
Rea, currently sitting on a record 11-race winning streak in the production series still finished day one second overall, ahead of teammate Leon Haslam, new BMW signing Tom Sykes, Alex Lowes (Yamaha), Leon Camier (Honda), Sandro Cortese (Yamaha) and Markus Reiterberger (BMW).
Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki) completed the top 10, while Marco (Melandri) and world No. 2 Chaz Davies (Ducati) were 13th and 14th – but only one second behind Bautista!
Australia’s Troy Herfoss (Honda) was 19th.
The WorldSBK riders will now rest up and prepare for a massive Saturday: final practice is at 10:00am, before Superpole qualifying at 12:15pm and then the opening 22-lap race at 3:00pm.
TOP TEN: WorldSBK SESSIONS 1 & 2 FRIDAY COMBINED BEST
1. Alvaro Bautista (19) Ducati: 1m30.327 s
2. Jonathan Rea (1) Kawasaki: 1m30.341 s
3. Leon Haslam (91) Kawasaki: 1m30.482 s
4. Tom Sykes (66) BMW: 1m30.664 s
5. Alex Lowes (22) Yamaha: 1m30.783s
6. Leon Camier (2) Honda: 1m30.792s
7. Sandro Cortese (11) Yamaha: 1m30.850s
8. Markus Reiterberger (28) BMW: 1m30.862s
9. Michael van der Mark (60) Yamaha: 1m31.049s
10. Toprak Razgatlioglu (54) Kawasaki: 1m31.125s
Australian Wild Card 19. Troy Herfoss (17) Honda: 1m34.324s
See you Trackside at the Island for a Triple-Treat
General Admission tickets and camping passes are now available at the gate. Gates open from 8am each day.
World superbikes is FREE* for kids 15 and under, and so is your bike.
As an extra bonus at WorldSBK, all three-day ticket holders are gifted FREE paddock access.
For more information go to www.worldsbk.com.au or call the toll free WorldSBK Hotline 1300 728 007
*Children 15 and under are free and must be accompanied by a paying adult.