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Sykes the man to beat after Phillip Island testing

Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 21 February 2012: Tom Sykes was ultimately the man of the moment in two days of Superbike testing at Phillip Island, the Kawasaki man holding onto the top slot in today’s warmer afternoon session that saw only two riders improve. Sykes’s time of 1 minute 31.648 seconds remains the benchmark as the riders now gear up for the opening round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship this coming weekend.

Tom Sykes: “We were fast this morning and also this afternoon in hot conditions, improving our time compared to yesterday. Overall we did a bit more testing today and certainly stumbled across a couple of good things, and at the end we did 14 laps on race tyres and it was very consistent, with the times coming easier than they were doing with previous settings. Kawasaki has made a massive effort over the winter period and there is no doubt the latest Ninja ZX-10R racebike has improved a lot from last year’s feedback so this year it was only natural to progress.”

Second place overall went to 2011 champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati), who ended up just a whisker behind. The Spaniard set the quickest time of the warmer afternoon session and then packed up for the rest of the day.

Carlos Checa: “We finished our job this morning and we just were testing a little bit more to confirm different things, and once I had confirmed that the ‘war’ was over. I feel comfortable, finally, with the last settings. We used the large tyre and the small tyre, and we worked out which settings to use for each one, and we just wanted to save the bike and the engine for the weekend, when the conditions will probably be a bit different and we will need to know which tyres will come for the race. Our base set-up is comfortable, this track is good for Ducati and I believe we did a good job from the first test until now.”

Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) was third on another Ducati 1098R, not far off the pace of the top 2, while Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike) was the only other rider to get into the 1 minute 32 seconds bracket. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) showed remarkable consistency as he took the fifth slot, while Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad) failed to improve on day 2 and his time set yesterday was good enough for sixth. Superbike rookie Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) crashed harmlessly for the third time in this test but was impressive enough for seventh, while Leon Camier (Crescent Suzuki) completed the top 8.

Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad) will undergo an operation Thursday to have two screws put in his right tibia fracture, then a decision will be taken as to whether or not he can race this weekend.

After five days of testing – private and official – the Superbike teams and riders now have a chance to wind down before opening round action begins on Friday.

Times (Monday-Tuesday): 1.Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’31”648; 2. Checa (Ducati) 1’31”652; 3. Smrz (Ducati) 1’31”800; 4. Rea (Honda) 1’31”913; 5. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’32”034; 6. Melandri (BMW) 1’32”232; 7. Giugliano (Ducati) 1’32”319; 8. Camier (Suzuki) 1’32”320; 9. Guintoli (Ducati) 1’32”347; 10. Haslam (BMW) 1’32”397; 11. Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’32”540; 12. Fabrizio (BMW) 1’32”605; 13. Canepa (Ducati) 1’32”746; 14. Aoyama (Honda) 1’32”910; 15. Berger (Ducati) 1’32”911; 16. Badovini (BMW) 1’32”948; etc.

Superbike records at Phillip Island
Fastest Lap: Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1’31″826 (2007)
Superpole: Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’30″882 (2011)
Best Lap: Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’30″826 (2011)

World Supersport

Australian Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) ended up at the top of the results sheet after two days of World Supersport testing with a time of 1 minute 34.585 seconds. On aggregate over four sessions on Monday and Tuesday Parkes was able to finish ahead of the Kawasakis of Kenan Sofuoglu (Deltafin Lorenzini) and Fabien Foret (Intermoto Step). Britain’s Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) also put in a good overall run, after going quickest in the morning session.

The final session saw the red flags come out for Russian rider Vladimir Leonov who suffered a few cuts and bruises to his right elbow and left ankle in a crash but the Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha man will make the race on Sunday.

The championship warm-up threw up a number of surprises. The first was 23-year-old Frenchman Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda), who has moved over from the mid-class GP category this year, and who was fifth quickest. The second was Vittorio Iannuzzo, back up amongst the front-runners once again with sixth quickest time on a three-cylinder Power Team by Suriano Triumph.

Times (Monday-Tuesday): 1. Parkes (Honda) 1’34″585; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’34″604; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’34″866; 4. Lowes (Honda) 1’34″957; 5. Cluzel (Honda) 1’35″131; 6. Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1’35″362; 7. Morais (Kawasaki) 1’35″701; 8. Quarmby (Honda) 1’35″824; etc.

Supersport records at Phillip Island

Fastest Lap: Fabien Foret (Honda) 1’34.941 (168.485 km/h) – 2011

Best Lap: Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’33.847 (170.512 km/h) – 2010