Featured WSBK: Bautista top of the timesheets on Day One at Phillip Island test

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Simon, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. Simon

    Simon Professional storyteller
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    Day one of the WSBK test at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit saw factory Ducati’s Álvaro Bautista clocking the fastest time of the day, over four tenths of a second faster than Yamaha’s Alex Lowes and Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea.

    Bautista said: “Today was a very positive day and I felt good on the bike right away. We mainly focussed on chassis set-up work by testing various solutions that I hadn’t tried out until now. I’m pleased because we were able to improve the turning of the bike, which gave me a lot more confidence going into the corner. In addition, we tried the different tyre solutions that Pirelli brought along for the weekend. Now we have to have a good look at the data and try and make another step forward, but all in all I’m very happy.”

    The Spaniard’s best lap of 1’30.743 was impressive, but team-mate Chaz Davies lingered at the bottom end of the timesheets for both sessions. Still searching for an ideal base set-up, the Welshman found some technical issues early on and was unable to match his teammate’s pace. The other two Panigale V4 Rs on the 2019 grid also continued developing with Team Go Eleven’s Eugene Laverty focusing on base setup as well as improving the feeling on the rear of the bike, while Barni Racing’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi concentrated on adapting to the new Showa suspension.

    The Kawasaki factory pairing of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam were the two first men out on track in the morning and showed similar pace, finishing the day in third and fifth respectively. Puccetti’s Toprak Razgatlioglu also appeared to be making ground with the 2019 ZX-10RR as he set the tenth fastest lap on his first day with the new engine, rising above his fellow Kawasaki privateers.

    Yamaha’s Alex Lowes again finished inside the top two at Phillip Island, 0.403s behind Bautista. Both the Englishman and team-mate Michael van der Mark – worked on race set-up. The other two Yamahas on the grid also excelled on day one, as the Japanese manufacturer managed to place all four bikes inside the top eight. GRT’s Marco Melandri placed sixth, while team-mate Sandro Cortese posted the eighth fastest time on what was his first laps on a superbike at Phillip Island.

    The test also a fruitful day for the two BMW bikes, fitted with a new chassis and swingarm link for the first time. Tom Sykes finished the day in fourth position having the edge over team-mate Markus Reiterberger, ninth fastest.

    After several months of swirling rumours and working outside the spotlight, the test also saw the debut of the Moriwaki Althea Honda Team. The first signs would seem promising, as Leon Camier edged close to the top ten with a bike still in an early development stage.
     

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