It was a dramatic day of testing for the WorldSBK Official Test, but it was Toprak Razgatlioglu who found himself on top on the conclusion of the first day.
The sun has set on what was a dramatic opening day of pre-season testing for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. With multiple red flag stoppages and a crash from all top three contenders of 2022, in the end only nine-tenths separated the top 8 riders on the conclusion of Day 1.
Toprak Razgatlioglu [Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK] came out on top, despite an early crash in FP1 at Turn 10, but ultimately came out on top in FP2 with his fastest time of the day a 1:30.674.
Toprak Razgatlioglu: “We did not try the race simulation today because we focused on our bike setup. Now the feeling is much better and just tomorrow I will try to improve more because we have some new parts again that we will use tomorrow and I hope with this we improve. Tomorrow my plan is a race simulation. I think Rinaldi and Locatelli, these guys are strong and we are going to be fighting all together and I know for sure Bautista and Jonny are also very strong here. Last year, yes I was also strong, but my rear tyre dropped in the races. Normally at this track, the Yamaha is not normally strong but we will keep fighting again.”
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) was second in the combined times, just 0.099s slower than the 2021 World Champion Razgatlioglu, proving to continue his strong pre-season form that he has been consistently displaying. Rounding out the top three was 2022 World Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati), posting his fastest time of a 1:30.808.
Continuing down the combined timesheets, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished the day out in fourth, however was the first rider of the Day to dip in the 1:30s time bracket, posted early into the FP2 session, but followed closely after this was a crash in Turn 4.
Jonathan Rea: “There are certainly positives and negatives, but a few clear areas that are positive in comparison to last year. The tyre allocation is strange, there is not a lot of tyre the tyre that we would use, so we have been using a hard tyre in the front and soft tyre in the front, but we only have four or five cases of the good ones but with eight hours of track time to use. In the rear, the last session I put in the softer tyre and tried to push for a strong lap time but I didn’t feel like I had extra grip the bike wasn’t turning, so like I said there a few positives and negatives that we need to work on for tomorrow.”
Leading the Rookie way was Australian Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who hit the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the first time as a WorldSBK rider. Gardner finished out the day in 7th position, posting a 1:31.600, but was pipped in the Independent standings by Philip Oettl (Team GoEleven).
Remy Gardner: “Yeah I felt not bad to be honest. It’s a new track, a different style of riding the bike again. But it was quite good, I feel even closer again which is a positive. It feels like every time I get back on the bike i make a step. I didn’t get the chance to string together a quick lap in the end, I was on a really fast lap right towards the end, and then the red flag came out, but overall, not a bad day.”
The top six from Day 1 of the Official Test, full results here:
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 1’30.674s
2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.099s
3. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0-134s
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.215s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.334s
6. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +0.921s
7. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.926s