WorldSBK Free Practice 1: Locatelli On Top with a new Lap Record, Gardner in fourth

By February 23, 2024 WorldSBK

WorldSBK Free Practice 1: Locatelli On Top with a new Lap Record, Gardner in fourth

WorldSBK By February 23, 2024

With much anticipation surrounding the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, the season officially got underway at 11:30am this morning for the first World Superbike Free Practice session of the season.



The 45-minute session was initially put on hold, with a light shower making its way over the circuit in the opening 10 or so minutes of Free Practice 1, with no riders opting to go out on wets. With the rain covering the entirety of the 4.445 kilometre circuit, Free Practice 1 was quiet in terms of on-track activity, while riders were waiting for the dry line to form.

 

The final 10 minutes of the session, all riders exited pit lane to lap the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit to set their first official flying laps of the season, and for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round.

 

The man of the hour was Andrea Locatelli [Pata Prometeon Yamaha] who finished the 45 minute Free Practice session on top. Leading the way for Yamaha, Locatelli’s fastest time of 1:29.197 was also enough to secure a new World Superbike all time Lap Record.

Following behind Locatelli, it was twin brothers Alex Lowes [Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK] and Sam Lowes who rounded out second and third place respectively, with Sam Lowes showing a strong debut in World Superbikes with the ELF Marc VDS Racing Team.

 

Australian fans had many reasons to cheer after FP1, with Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team] finishing the session in 4th place, and first for the Independent rider championship, with his fastest time of the session being a 1:29.766.

 

While these were the results when the chequered flag came out, there were plenty of talking points throughout the whole 45-minute session.

 

Michael Ruben Rinaldi Team Motocorsa Racing] was the first rider to dip into the 1 minute 30 second time bracket, but this was quickly overturned by reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] who’s first flying lap was a 1:30.553.

 

That time however wasn’t enough to secure the top spot, with Bautista dropping all the way down into 8th position once the chequered flag came out, despite bettering his time to 1:30.034. 

 

Top six from WorldSBK FP1, full results here:

  1. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 1’29.197s
  2. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.106s
  3. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) +0.520s
  4. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.558s
  5. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) +0.688s
  6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) +0.727s

 

Written by: Tayla Relph
Images by: Russell Colvin
Don’t miss a second of the action from the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round – 23 – 25th February 2024.
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