2016 World Superbike Preseason Test at Phillip Island
The final 2016 World Superbike preseason test concluded Tuesday at the 2.76-mile Phillip Island Circuit in Australia.
Unlike Monday’s World SBK test, rain did not affect Tuesday’s sessions, allowing riders to quickly get up to speed. When the day’s riding was complete, the 2014 WSBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli led the way aboard the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK YZR-R1.
Despite crashing earlier in the session, the Frenchman was able to post a 131.473 around the 12-corner circuit. Following by just over a tenth of a second behind was the reigning World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Ninja). Third fastest Friday went to yet another R1 pilot, Alex Lowes.
Speaking after the test, Guintoli spoke highly of the new R1: “A good two days here at Phillip Island, the test has been really constructive. I’ve tried lots of solutions that are working well – we ended up getting closer and closer to the leaders and ended up topping the last session so that felt good!
“I had a small crash at the end but nothing to worry about. The pace was really good and I felt comfortable, probably a little bit too comfortable, but in the end it was all good. I’m looking forward to the weekend now, it will be good to get struck in and do some racing! This track really suits the character of the YZF-R1, the bike is fantastic to ride here – with the change of direction and the long, fast corners – it’s really sweet and efficient to ride.
“It’s really important for our work for the first two races now not to just concentrate on one-lap pace – as Phillip Island is a very long and demanding lap on the tires – but we’ve done a good job so far. As for the crash I really needed to get that out of the way as I hadn’t crashed at all during the winter tests in November and January so I needed to have one and that’s done. Now we’re ready to start racing!”
As for Monday’s leader, the 2013 World SBK Champion Tom Sykes, the Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Ninja pilot finished fourth on Tuesday, though he still earned the quickest time overall.
“There were a lot of stoppages for red flags over the course of two days but I think we are in a very good situation. We are fast with the cold conditions, warmer conditions, and also with some laps on the tires,” Sykes says.
“We have finished our two days of testing in a strong way, at a track that has been one of our limits in the past. Everything is definitely heading in the right direction and we have gathered some great information. I am happy to head into the race weekend now having completed a successful test. All we have to do now is get our heads together, have a brief summary of what we have done but on the whole we have made some key changes and put ourselves in a better position for the opening race weekend.”
Overall, Rea was second fastest, followed by Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Davide Giugliano, Honda World Superbike’s Michael van der Mark, and Guintoli.
As for the sole American in World Superbike, Honda’s Nicky Hayden – the 2006 MotoGP Champion – finished seventh fastest overall, less than a half-second off Sykes’ quickest time.
The riders now break until the 2016 World Superbike season opener this weekend at Phillip Island.
2016 Phillip Island World SBK Test Results – Overall:
1. Tom Sykes, GBR, Kawasaki Racing Team, 131.097
2. Jonathan Rea, GBR, Kawasaki Racing Team, 131.249
3. Davide Giugliano, ITA, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, 131.400
4. Michael van der Mark, NED, Honda World Superbike Team, 131.458
5. Sylvain Guintoli, FRA, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team, 131.473
6. Jordi Torres, ESP, Althea BMW Racing Team, 131.526
7. Nicky Hayden, USA, Honda World Superbike Team, 131.558
8. Alex Lowes, GBR, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team, 131.620
9. Xavi Fores, ESP, Barni Racing Team, 131.661
10. Chaz Davies, GBR, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, 131.678