2011 World Superbike
The final pre-season test of the 2011 World Superbike season finished with shattering speeds from Carlos Checa, the Spaniard showing much domination at Phillip Island.
The Althea Ducati rider was not only overall fastest on Monday and Tuesday, but when the WSBK test was complete, the 1198R rider smashed Regis Laconi’s 2009 Superpole lap record by half a second.
To further note how impressive Checa’s speeds were on Tuesday, one just has to look to MotoGP records. During the 2010 MotoGP round at Phillip Island, Casey Stoner, then a Ducati Team rider, posted a fastest lap of 1:30.4 aboard the Ducati GP10. Stoner’s time was only a tenth of a second faster than Checa’s on the 1198 World Superbike machine.
Over the two-day test, the 38-year-old Checa completed 116 laps on the Ducati, with a best time of 1:30.578 that was posted Tuesday morning. These speeds come as no surprise to many World Superbike fans, considering Checa won race 2 in Australia last season.
Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert – Liberty Racing Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda), who suffered a nasty crash on Tuesday, were second and third quickest behind Checa, respectively.
Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati Superbike) says: "I’d say that the test went extremely well, we worked well with the tires and I felt comfortable on the bike right from the start. I was a little worried as we have not tested much over the winter but we did a great job here. I thank the entire team and also Pirelli for all their hard work which allowed me to record some fast times.
"We’ve found a strong rhythm and are very satisfied. The Ducati always goes well at Phillip Island so we’ll try to make the most of this opportunity and focus on achieving great results on Sunday."
Guintoli was six-tenths of a second behind Checa, and Rea was seven-tenths back in the final 2011 pre-season World Superbike test. Early in the afternoon (4th) session, Rea crashed at Turn 3, and was launched from his CBR1000RR around 130 mph.
Castrol Honda reported that Rea dislocated the ring finger on his left hand but was later transferred to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne to undergo x-rays and scans on his left wrist. The wreck may keep the 24-year-old Northern Irishman from starting at this weekend’s World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island.
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) says: "I’m so frustrated because we were just about there on race pace and everything was feeling really good. Early in this afternoon’s session, I was in turn three and winding it on when I suddenly felt the rear squirming and then I realized the bike was on fire.
"Basically I had to get off it quickly and unfortunately it was at 130mph, which is quick enough. My finger and wrist are sore – in fact I’m pretty sore all over – but I’m still waiting for the final diagnosis.
"At the moment it’s too early to know how I’ll be feeling at the weekend, but I certainly didn’t want to start this season the way I finished the last one. I know it’s one of those things that you don’t expect and can’t prepare for, but it’s nobody’s fault and we’ll just have to hope I can be back on it soon."
Taking fourth and fifth quickest overall was Guintoli’s teammate Jakub Smrz and Kawasaki Racing Team’s Joan Lascorz on the all-new Ninja ZX-10R superbike, who also suffered a minor crash at the test.
As for the reigning World Superbike Champion, Max Biaggi was sixth fastest aboard the Alitalia Aprilia.
Also crashing at the World Superbike test session were Suzuki Alstare’s Michel Fabrizio and Yamaha World Superbike’s Marco Melandri. They were taken to the track’s Medical Center, and as of Tuesday were cleared for action.
The riders will return to Phillip Island this weekend for the opening round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship. Last year’s winners were Leon Haslam (then Suzuki Alstare) and Checa.
2011 World Superbike Phillip Island Overall Test Results:
1. 7 Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R Superbike 1’30.578
2. 50 Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R Superbike 1’31.196
3. 4 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’31.206
4. 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R Superbike 1’31.654
5. 17 Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’31.866
6. 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’31.870
7. 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’32.113
8. 33 Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’32.122
9. 58 Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1’32.137
10. 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.272
11. 41 Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’32.299
12. 12 Waters J. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’32.394
13. 111 Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.405
14. 91 Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.413
15. 52 Toseland J. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.880
16. 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.994
17. 86 Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’33.233
18. 67 Staring B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.398
19. 6 Yanagawa A. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.432
20. 121 Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R Superbike 1’33.485
21. 44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.514
22. 2 Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’33.560
23. 8 Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.721