As riders took to the fast and flowing Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit for the first session of the Official test, changeable weather conditions caused disruption throughout the morning session.
Determined to get some solid testing time in, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders didn’t waste any time in heading out as they look at making any final changes before the season kicks off this week.
Eleven riders took to the track in the opening hour as Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) sat at the top of the tree with a lap time of 1.44.949 ahead of Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) in second position.
Sunny intervals continued throughout the session and Alex De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC Project) led the way before Italian Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) took the honours with a time of 1.42.902 just as the heavens opened. Only Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Riccardo Russo (Guandalini Racing) didn’t take the risk.
Heading out at 13.40pm LT, the erratic weather calmed down and the circuit began to dry. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) set a 1.34 lap time straight off the bat and times continued to tumble with the sun breaking through the clouds.
Hitting the hour to go mark, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) shot into the fastest spot – his lap time a 1.32.723. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) was the only rider to challenge him before Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) was able to go 0.118s quicker, and the pair began to swap positions in the closing minutes.
All riders improved on their lap times from this morning, and it was Forés who ended the day ahead of Rea, with a final lap time of 1.31.412 which put the Spaniard 0.411s ahead of Rea’s 1.31.823.
The RacerViews information
By Leonard Smith, February 2017
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