Following a two week break since Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway, the 2015 World Superbike Championship headed to Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.Leading the way Friday was Max Biaggi, who returns from retirement to contest his second wildcard appearance of 2015 World SBK. The 43-year-old Italian’s first wildcard ride for Aprilia Racing Team was at Misano, where he finished with a pair of sixths.
And just as he led the opening practice day at Misano, Biaggi – who retired from World SBK following the 2012 season – earned the provisional pole with his FP1 time of 2:04.823 around the 3.4-mile Sepang circuit. Biaggi, who has helped Aprilia develop the RSV4 RF, set the time in a dry FP1. Typical Malaysian rains fell before the second free practice, which caused much slower times.Joining Biaggi on the provisional front row ahead of Saturday’s Superpole were Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike’s Chaz Davies, who doubled at Laguna Seca and led FP2, and the current points leader, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea.Speaking after 2015 Sepang SBK Friday Practice, Max Biaggi said “A bitter – sweet Friday. Sweet because the first session went rather well but I would have liked to have a dry second session to compete with the best. In the wet we only took three laps just to try out a configuration, but tomorrow we’ll have to fine tune a few details like the gearbox ratio and the suspension since we’re still working on weight distribution. It will be especially important to have the track in the same conditions and put in two consistent sessions in order to avoid misjudging the situation.”The 2013 World SBK Champion Tom Sykes piloted his Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R to fourth overall with a 2:05.491. He was followed by the two other Aprilia Factory Racing RSV4 RF ridders, Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres.Rounding out the top 10 overall at 2015 Sepang SBK Friday practice were the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GDSX-R1000 duo of Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet, and the Pata Honda World Superbike CBR1000RR duo of Sylvain Guintoli (reigning World SBK Champion) and Michael van der Mark (reigning World Supersport Champion).The riders return to Sepang Saturday for two additional free practices ahead of Superpole.
2015 Sepang SBK Friday Practice Results:
1.Max Biaggi, 2m04.823s: ITA, APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils 2. Chaz Davies, 2m04.972s: GBR, DUCATI Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team 3. Jonathan Rea, 2m05.382s: GBR, KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team 4. Tom Sykes, 2m05.491s: GBR, KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team 5. Leon Haslam, 2m05.533s: GBR, APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils 6. Jordi Torres, 2m05.623s: ESP, APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils 7. Alex Lowes, 2m05.806s: GBR, SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki 8. Randy de Puniet, 2m05.920s: FRA, SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki 9. Sylvain Guintoli, 2m05.961s: FRA, HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team 10. Michael van der Mark, 2m05.986s: NED, HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.