Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes leads the way in Australia this week as he ended the rest on top, after setting the fastest time on Monday test sessions. With a lap time of 1.31.097s; only 0.196s ahead of team-mate Jonathan Rea as the WSBK riders get their first taste of Philip Island.
Rain and red flags hampered day one causing the sessions to be red flagged, however riders were able to put some solid stints in and it was Honda’s Michael van der Mark who finished the day in third, just under half a second off Sykes’ time.
Spaniard Jordi Torres rounded out the day in fourth, ahead of former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden in fifth, who seems to be rapidly adapting back to Superbike machines.
Day one saw a few crashes at the fast and flowing circuit, which included reigning BSB champion Josh Brookes and his Milwaukee team-mate Karel Abraham who both walked away unscathed. Peter Sebastyen, Dominic Schmitter and Chaz Davies also crashed on Monday and we’re also unhurt.
Rain began to fall towards the end of the opening session on the second and final day of the test and Rea was able to get the fastest time in early on in the session, and the Northern Irishman wasn’t caught for the rest of the morning.
Honda’s dominated during the early stage however there seems to be no stopping the Kawasaki’s as session came to close, with Rea 0.151s ahead of the field with a time of 1.31.249. To put these times into perspective, the pole position time last season was Rea’s lap of 1.31.212, so it’s clear these riders mean business.
Jordi Torres crashed in the morning and was taken to the Clinca Mobile where they said he had a ‘deep open wound, however he won’t need any further treatment.
Rain stayed away from track for the afternoon, and 2013 WSBK champion Sylvain Guintoli finished the afternoon with the fastest time despite crashing his YZR-R1 earlier in the day.
Rea set the second fastest time of the afternoon, ahead of Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes. With the rest of the field unable to beat Sykes time, he stayed in fourth for the end of the session.
Italian rookie Fabio Menghi has been airlifted to hospital following a heavy crash with his VTF Racing 1199 Panigale R, and has been diagnosed with a pelvic fracture.
Bikes will return on track this Friday as riders make their first steps towards the 2016 World SBK championship.