Jonathan Rea is warming up nicely for the start of his title world superbike defence at Phillip Island on Friday after putting down the fastest time in testing this morning.
The double world champion, who won both WorldSBK races at Phillip Island in 2016, was in ominous touch as he charged around the 4.445km grand prix circuit in a best of 1min30.545secs on his Kawasaki, with the returning Italian star Marco Melandri (Ducati, 1:30.803) the only other rider to join the Northern Irelander in the 1:30s bracket.
Rea and Melandri also recorded the fastest top speeds down Gardner Straight – 315.8km/h.
In fine conditions, most of the championship heavyweights moved towards the pointy end the pack after precipitation made things difficult on day one, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki. 1:31.044) slotting into third position from lap record holder Chaz Davies (Ducati, 1:31.055) and day one pacesetter Xavi Fores (Ducati, 1:31.226).
Davies’ lap record is 1:30.949, set at an average speed of 175.944km/h.
Alex deAngelis (Kawasaki) joined Fores as the second privateer in the top 10, while Leon Camier (MV Agusta), Alex Lowes (Yamaha), Eugene Laverty (Aprilia), Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia), rookie Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki) and American Nicky Hayden on the all-new but still underdeveloped Honda also set times in the 1:31s.
Meanwhile, it was a dirty morning for Aussie Josh Brookes who blew an engine on his first flying lap, with a replacement being fitted on his Yamaha R1M – the same machine he won the 2015 British superbike title on. Brookes will be back out for the final pre-season hitout a 1:40pm this afternoon.
World supersport riders have also been out ion track, with American Patrick Jacobsen completing the session ahead of fellow MV Agusta rider Roberto Rolfo and 2016 Phillip Island winner Jules Cluzel (Honda). World champion Kenna Sofuoglu (Kawasaki), returning after a layoff with injury, was sixth, with 2016 young gun Niki Tuuli (Yamaha) eighth. Aiden Wagner (Honda) was the leading Australian in 13th, two spots ahead of Anthony West (Yamaha).
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