Sykes Tops World SBK Private Test, Day 1

2012 World Superbike Testing

A few World Superbike teams began a three-day private testing session Monday at Phillip Island, Australia, a week before the first official tests of 2012 at the same track.

Leading the time sheets was Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes, the man who gave Kawasaki its first World Superbike win since 2006 at Nurburgring last season. The Brit posted a 1:33 aboard the ZX-10R, running a soft-race tire.

The rankings show that the second fastest rider was the World SBK reigning champion, Carlos Checa, with a 1:33.3, though sources at the Althea Ducati team report Checa also posted a 1:33.

Aprilia Racing Team’s new rider Eugene Laverty also posted a 1:33.3, a tenth faster than BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Marco Melandri.

Next were Aprilia Racing Team’s Max Biaggi and BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam, both posting 1:33.7. Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati’s Jakub Smrz posted a 1:34, while local rider Dave Johnson set a 1:35.7 aboard a BMW S1000RR.

As for accidents, Crescent Suzuki’s John Hopkins smashed, fracturing some bones in his hand. He will not participate in the remaining days of the private tests. Biaggi and Effenbert-Liberty Ducati’s Maxime Berger crashed into each other, and Checa’s teammate Davide Giugliano also crashed.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike) says: "We were just working on bike balance, getting it all dialed into the circuit, just relaxing and enjoying it. I was happy that we were showing good consistency. I did not do a full race run but we did use the same tires for a long time."

World Superbike reports that track conditions were good at Phillip Island Monday, with the wind getting up a little in the afternoon, but the appearance of large waterfowl on the track caused a moment of real worry for Checa. He came along the main straight to find two ‘large animals’ as he called them, and he had to pick a gap in the middle as he passed between them at around 300kmph. The tests have two more days to run.

World Superbike Phillip Island Private Tests: Day 1 Times:
1. Tom Sykes 1’33.0; 2. Carlos Checa 1’33.3; 3. Eugene Laverty 1’33.3; 4. Marco Melandri 1’33.4; 5. Leon Haslam 1’33.7; 6. Max Biaggi 1’33.7; 7. Jakub Smrz 1’34.0; 8. Sylvain Guintoli 1’34.1; 9. Joan Lascorz 1’34.1; 10. Maxime Berger 1’34.3; 11. Michel Fabrizio: 1’34.4; 12. Leon Camier 1’34.5; 13. David Salom 1’34.9; 14. Ayrton Badovini 1’35.0; 15. David Johnson 1’35.7; 16. Davide Giugliano 1’35.8; 17. Lorenzo Zanetti: 1’37.1; John Hopkins No time given/crash