Motorcycle Racing News World Superbike 2019 Australia WorldSBK Test, Day 1: Ducati's Bautista Fastest by 0.4

2019 Australia WorldSBK Test, Day 1: Ducati’s Bautista Fastest by 0.4

2019 Australia WorldSBK Test Day 1 Results

With only a few days to go before the 2019 World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island, the final pre-season test at the Australian circuit got underway Monday.

Leading the 19-rider grid was Aurba.it Racing Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista, who joined the factory Ducati squad after competing for nine years in the premier MotoGP class.

It’s also a new era for Ducati; the Italian manufacturer that claimed 17 manufacturer titles with its legendary L-twin now debuts its Panigale V4 R in the WorldSBK series.

2019 Australia WorldSBK Test, Day 1: Ducati's Bautista Fastest by 0.4
Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista

When the first day of two was complete at Phillip Island, Bautista posted a fastest lap of 1:30.743 during the cold morning session.

This was quicker than Marco Melandri’s race record of 1:38.848 set during last year’s race while racing for Ducati (now with GRT Yamaha Superbike), but not as quick as the circuit record (across all sessions) – a 1:29.573 set by Jonathan Rea in 2017 (Kawasaki Racing Team).

When day one ended, Bautista finished 0.403 of a second ahead of Pata Yamaha WorldSBK’s Alex Lowes, and 0.446 of Rea – the four-time reigning WorldSBK Champion.

“Today was a very positive day and I felt good on the bike right away,” Alvaro Bautista says. “We mainly focused on chassis set-up work by testing various solutions that I hadn’t tried out until now.

“I’m pleased because we were able to improve the turning of the bike, which gave me a lot more confidence going into the corner. In addition, we tried the different tyre solutions that Pirelli brought along for the weekend. Now we have to have a good look at the data and try and make another step forward, but all in all I’m very happy.”

Melandri finished fourth, 0.702 of a second behind Bautista and just 0.013 of a second ahead of Pata Yamaha WorldSBK’s Michael van der Mark.

Rounding out the top 10 were GRT Yamaha’s Sandro Cortese, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK’s Tom Sykes; Kawasaki Racing Team’s Leon Haslam; BMW Motorrad WorldSBK’s Markus Reiterberger; and Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki’s Toprak Razgatlioglu.

The teams will return to the Phillip Island circuit Tuesday morning for the second and final day of pre-season WorldSBK testing ahead of the season opener that’s scheduled for Friday, February 22, through Sunday, February 24.

2019 Australia WorldSBK Test, Day 1 Results

  1. Álvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)       1’30.743
  2. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)       1’31.146
  3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)               1’31.189
  4. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK)                1’31.300
  5. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team)                1’31.399

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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