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.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
Álvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) 1’30.743
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!