2016 Phillip Island World SBK Test

Phillip Island World SBK Test | Kawasaki’s Sykes Leads Day 1
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes

A week ahead of the 2016 World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island, the grid was at the Australian circuit for the final preseason test. Just like the MotoGP testing there last week, rain affected most of the test session.

Leading the way Monday at the 2.76-mile circuit containing 12 corners was the 2013 World SBK Champion Tom Sykes. The Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja pilot posted a quickest time of 1:31.097 aboard the redesigned 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Read our 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja Review.

Sykes finished 0.196 of a second ahead of his teammate, the reigning World SBK Champion Jonathan Rea. During the afternoon sessions, Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres finished third, just ahead of Honda’s newest WSBK pilot – the 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden. Fifth went to 2014 World SBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli aboard the returning Yamaha YZF-R1.

But on the combined timesheets, Hayden’s teammate Michael Van der Mark earned third overall – he was the only rider in the top 10 to not improve during the afternoon session.

Speaking of the test, World SBK says “With light rain a constant threat throughout most of the day, the second session also saw stoppages for red flags and crashes for many riders including Milwaukee pair Abraham and Brookes for separate incidents at turn 11, as well as Peter Sebestyen, Dominic Schmitter and 2015 title contender Ducati Team’s Chaz Davies.

Ducati Chaz Davies at Phillip Island SBK Test
Ducati’s Chaz Davies

“Davies, who escaped unhurt from a fall at the final turn on his Panigale R, ended the day in ninth on the combined timesheets with a tenth and a half advantage over Aruba.it Ducati teammate Davide Giugliano as Barni Racing Team’s Xavi Fores proved the fastest 1199 Panigale R of the day.”

It’s worth noting that Sykes also lead the other preseason test at Jerez as the Brit seeks a second World SBK title. All riders will return to the Phillip Island circuit Tuesday for the final day of preseason testing ahead of the season opener, which gets underway February 26 in Australia.

For more, visit World Superbike News.