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
Ducati's Alvaro Bautista

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