A cloudy day is upon us and weather conditions are certainly looming for Day 2 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. Track conditions were around 20 degrees cooler than what we saw in Free Practice 2 yesterday, and with that times were dropping radically!
While the green light came on indicating Pit Lane was open, the rain quickly put a halt to the session. With the clock still ticking and rain falling heaviest in Sectors 1 and 4, riders sat patiently in their pit boxes awaiting dry conditions.
At the 14 minute mark of the 30 minute Free Practice 3 session, it was Philipp Oettl [Team GoEleven] who was the first rider to test the conditions of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Oettl has found himself consistently within the top 5 bracket yesterday, and heading into his second season as a WorldSBK rider, clearly paying dividends to his confidence on the Ducati.
Oettl put in his first flying lap of a 1:32.0, proving conditions were dry. Toprak Razgatlioglu [Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK] was the next rider, followed by Australian Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK].
With 10 minutes remaining and Oettl, Razgatliolu and Gardner all putting in their fastest lap so far, with Razgatlioglu dropping over a second off his best time set yesterday. It didn’t take long for all riders to exit their Pit Box and put in a time attack in the shortened 10-minute session.
It was all action at the 8-minute mark as all riders entered the track to get the Free Practice 3 underway. With track conditions far cooler, it was evident we were going to see times drop by a fair margin in comparison to what we saw at the Official Test and yesterday’s Free Practice sessions.
It was once again the darkhorse of Iker Lecuona [Team HRC] who proved yesterday was no fluke. Lecuona stormed his way to the top of the timesheets, flying his Honda around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit to the first 1:29s lap time for the 2023 Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. His fastest lap of 1:29.764 also secured the fastest time across all three Free Practice sessions.
Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] was the next rider into the 29’s, firing off a 1:29.943, followed by the early-charging Phillipp Oettl in third.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] and Jonathan Rea [Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK] rounded out the top 5, while home-hero Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team] finished in 6th with his fastest time of 1:30.440, edging closer to the front of the pack.
Top six after WorldSBK FP3, full results here:
- Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) 1’29.764s
- Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.179s
- Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +0.353s
- Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.397s
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.456s
- Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.676s
Written by Tayla Relph. Images by Russell Colvin