Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea has completed the final pre-season two-day world superbike test at Phillip Island as the pacesetter ahead of this weekend’s opening round, but it was a close call thanks to fast-finishing Ducati rider Marco Melandri.
Rea’s benchmark lap was 1min30.545secs, which Melandri – returning to WorldSBK after a two-year hiatus – nearly eclipsed with his final flying lap of 1:30.575.
The majority of the top brass completed the test in great shape, which augers well for a mouth-watering Yamaha-Finance opening round back at Phillip Island this weekend.
Melandri’s teammate Chaz Davies (1:30.893) was third on the timesheets, followed by world No. 2 and former WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki, 1:31.044).
The current WorldSBK lap record is held by Davies with a 1:30.949, set in 2014.
Day one hero Xavi Fores (Ducati, 1:31.266) was fifth overall – still a brilliant result for the privateer – ahead of MV Agusta’s Leon Camier (1:31.293) and the first of the factory Aprilias of Lorenzo Savadori (1:31.449).
Alex Lowes (Yamaha, 1:31.629) was next, with the top 10 completed by Jordi Torres (BMW, 1:31.673) – who completed the most laps across the final pre-season test – and former world supersport rider Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki, 1:31.783).
Past Philip Island winner Eugene Laverty (Aprilia, 1:31.881) was 12th, while Honda factory pair Michael van der Mark (1:31.936) and Nicky Hayden (1:31.952) were 13th and 14th on their all-new machines.
Australia’s Josh Brookes (Yamaha) was 16th, but only got in one session today after an engine blew this morning.
The WorldSBK paddock now takes a two-day break before practice and qualifying starts for the season opening round of the 2017 Superbike World Championship on Friday followed by Superpole and race one at 3:00pm on Saturday. The second 22-lap race will be held on Sunday, also at 3:00pm.
The 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship kicks off at Australia’s Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit with the Yamaha Finance round from February 24-26, and is set to be a scorcher. Go to at www.worldsbk.com.au or call the Superbike Hotline on 1300 728 007 for tickets and general event information.
Pre-purchase your 3-Day General Admission ticket for $120*, saving $35 on the gate price. Get the best views at Bar SBK for only $260** with undercover viewing locations at the circuit’s most spectacular points – Doohan Corner, Lukey Heights and Siberia. Pre-purchased adult single day tickets start at $30* for Friday, $65* for Saturday and $80* for Sunday.
*All prices quoted are pre-purchase ticket prices. Pre-purchase ends 4pm Wednesday 22nd February 2017
**Available for pre-purchase only