Kawasaki Racing Team duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes have sent an early and ominous warning that they’ll be the crack combination in this year’s world superbike title after setting the fastest two times at the start of a two-day official test session at Phillip Island ahead of this weekend’s opening round.
Rea, who has joined Kawasaki in 2015 after a long career at Honda, was best with a 1:31.663, ahead of Sykes (1:31.761), Ducati’s Davide Giugliano (1:31.948) and Aprilia’s Leon Haslam (1:31.980) – the only four rides to stop the clock under the 32-second barrier.
The current lap record is held by Briton Chaz Davies (1:30.949), set in 2014 on his factory Ducati.
Davies (1:32.412) was seventh fastest in the two-hour session, behind world superbike rookies Jordi Torres (Aprilia, 1:32.133) and former MotoGP rider Randy De Puniet (1:32.402).
Ducati rider Nicolas Terol (1:32.524), another fresh face in the 2015 WSBK title, was eighth fastest, ahead of Alex Lowes (Suzuki, 1:32.806) and world champion Sylvain Guintoli (Honda, 1:32.912), who is still riding under duress after a big crash in final European testing at Jerez a few weeks ago.
Australian wildcards Matt Walters and Jed Metcher, both riding Kawasakis, completed the first session of four in 19th and 20th positions respectively.
The WSBK riders will be back on track at 3:40pm this afternoon.
For times …www.worldsbk.com