Spaniard Alvaro Bautista’s ever-improving relationship with his all-new Ducati world superbike machine was on full display in final practice at Phillip Island this morning as the countdown to this afternoon’s season-opening race one continues.
Bautista was superb in the 20-minute FP3 session, dropping his best lap in practice to 1min.29.785secs on the Panigale V4 R, with Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam the next best with a 1:32.259 ahead of world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki, 1:30.299), Yamaha’s Alex Lowes (1:30.325) and Eugene Laverty (Ducati, 1:30.430).
To put Bautista’s blistering form into context on the production-based Panigale, at last year’s MotoGP round his best lap around Phillip Island on the prototype factory Ducati was 1:29.714 – a bike with a much higher top speed down Gardner Straight!
Tom Sykes (BMW) was sixth in FP3 from Marco Melandri (Yamaha), Markus Reiterberger (BMW), Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki) and Chaz Davies (Ducati).
Australia’s Troy Herfoss was 19th on his Honda.
The next outing for the world’s best production racers will be at 12:15pm for the 25-minute Superpole qualifying, with race one – a 22-lapper – to be held at 3:00pm.
TOP TEN – WorldSBK Times from Saturday morning Warm Up (prior to 12.15pm Superpole Qual and Race 1 (22 laps) at 3pm)
1. Alvaro Bautista (19) Ducati: 1m29.785s
2. Leon Haslam (91) Kawasaki: 1m30.259 s
3. Jonathan Rea (1) Kawasaki: 1m30.299s
4. Alex Lowes (22) Yamaha: 1m30.325s
5. Eugene Laverty (50) Ducati: 1m30.430s
6. Tom Sykes (66) BMW: 1m30.671 s
7. Marco Melandri (33) Yamaha: 1m30.862s
8. Markus Reiterberger (28) BMW: 1m30.966s
9. Toprak Razgatlioglu (54) Kawasaki: 1m31.031s
10. Chaz Davies (7) Ducati: 1m31.134s
Australian Wild Card 19. Troy Herfoss (17) Honda: 1m34.048s
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.