2019 Australia WorldSBK Test Results
The final pre-season World Superbike test wrapped up Tuesday at Phillip Island with another dominating day for Ducati’s newest rider, Alvaro Bautista.
The Spaniard, who also led Monday’s session, posted a quickest time of 1:30.303 around the Australian circuit. That was 0.440 seconds faster than his Monday time.
To put this time into perspective, Marco Melandri has holds the race record lap of 1:38.848, which was set during last year’s race while racing for Ducati (now with GRT Yamaha Superbike). The circuit record (across all sessions) is a 1:29.573, which was posted by Jonathan Rea in 2017 (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10RR).
Bautista is proving that the Abruba.It Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R – Ducati’s first-ever V4 WorldSBK contender which replaces the L-twin that claimed 17 manufacturer’s titles – will be a top player during the season opener this weekend at Phillip Island.
When Tuesday’s test was complete, Bautista finished 0.213 of a second ahead of BMW Motorrad WorldSBK’s newest rider Tom Sykes, and 0.342 of a second ahead of Kawasaki Racing Team’s Leon Haslam.
“Today was another very positive day,” said Alvaro Bautista, who joins WorldSBK following nine years of competition in the premier MotoGP class.
“This morning we made a change to the bike’s geometry but we didn’t find what we were looking for so we went back to yesterday’s setting. In the afternoon the aim was to do a long-run, to see how the tires behaved after a number of laps in race trim.
“I’m pleased because I kept a very good pace throughout the entire long-run. These have been two very positive days, and I’d like to thank the whole team, which did a perfect job. We’re ready to tackle the first race, and I can’t wait to start!”
The four-time reigning World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea finished fourth, 0.396 of a second behind Bautista.
The rest of the 19-rider grid was over a half of a second behind Bautista, including Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki’s Toprak Razgatlioglu; Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes; Team Pedercini Kawasaki’s Jordi Torres; Pata Yamaha World Superbike’s Michael van der Mark.
The 32nd edition of the World Superbike Championship gets underway this weekend at Phillip Island, which hosts Superbike for the 29th time.
This year, the race weekend format has undergone several changes, the most important of which is the introduction of a ten-lap Superpole race. This will always start at noon CET on Sunday and it replaces the two Superpole 1 and Superpole 2 qualifying sessions.
The result of the Superpole race will determine the starting grid for Race 2 and will assign points for the championship standings. In addition, the number of free practice sessions has also been changed to two on Friday and one on Saturday morning. The Saturday and Sunday races will remain unchanged, but the starting time in Europe will now be at 14.00 CET.
2019 Australia World Superbike Test Results, Day 2
1. Álvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) 1’30.303
2. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’30.539
3. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’30.668
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’30.722
5. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) 1’30.760