WSBK – WSBK 2015: warm-up laps at Phillip Island… – British and Spanish at the forefront

WSBK 2015: warm-up laps at Phillip Island…

WSBK - WSBK 2015: warm-up laps at Phillip Island… - British and Spanish at the forefront

The traditional Phillip Island official practice, the prelude to the opening round of the World Superbike in Australia, has just come to an end. Led by Lowes and Rea, British and Spanish pilots are sharp. And our French ?

British and Spanish at the forefront

Dominated last year by champion Tom Sykes and his Kawasaki, the official Phillip Island tests have just been won in 2015 by Alex Lowes on Suzuki (see the times on the second page). The n ° 22 leads by nothing – but in WSBK, it is already a lot – the new Ninja Jonathan Rea … and the rookie Jordi Torres on Aprilia !

Competitive from his first outing in 2014 on the Melbourne circuit, the British Superbike champion (2013) Alex Lowes has cut himself a costume of favorite to victory – to both victories ?! – this Sunday, when the new WSBK season begins…

"The GSX-R is doing pretty well now", observes Alex who will be keen to imitate his former teammate Eugene Laverty, winner of the very first round of the WSBK 2014 on the same track and on the same bike … well almost, since the regulations were changed this winter !

"We will make some modification during the weekend depending on the temperature and make some small adjustments on the electronics and the chassis", predicts the Suzuki rider,"but the biggest progress to come will come from me, I know there are a few parts where I can ride differently".

His time of 1 ‘30.859 is however already very fast: despite 2015 engines less "typed" than last year, the winner of the official tests has turned faster than Chaz Davies and his Ducati (best time in the race in 2014) and is less than the official record of Sylvain Guintoli and his ex-Aprilia (Superpole last year).

At 21 thousandths of a second behind Lowes (!), Jonathan Rea confirms that he will have to be counted on this weekend … and throughout the 2015 season! If "JR" left – his family – Honda for Kawasaki, it is to become world champion, and nothing else.

"I was able to do a race simulation today (this night for us French, Editor’s note!) and most of my lap times were in the 1 ’31s. I don’t know how competitive it will be but it’s a start and we have some info to work on.", satisfied Johnny.

Going through the timesheets, we realize that the only other driver to have done twenty laps on the Australian circuit this afternoon is Alex Lowes, and that the latter scrupulously kept the same pace … Auspicious for Sunday races, so !

The last rider to drop below the 1’31 mark during these official tests, Jordi Torres could well create a sensation this weekend … On the handlebars of his Aprilia RSV4 RF, the Spanish rider is already ahead of three cadors – the British again – World Superbike: Tom Sykes, Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies. Not bad for a beginner !

The Frenchies already have their backs ?

Mostly spoiled by cool and rainy weather, winter testing in Europe was unfortunately punctuated by a highside in Jerez for Sylvain Guintoli. The aftermath of this nasty fall has again slowed the preparation of the reigning world champion in Australia…

"It was important to get back on the bike here because I practically didn’t ride during the last tests, I didn’t have any winter tests.", notes" Guinters "."I missed the good driving conditions in Jerez and had to regain confidence after my heavy crash there".

The "Number One" of the discipline is finally in 12th place in the standings of the two days, just behind the surprising Niccolo Canepa and his 1190 RX from EBR Hero … Sylvain Barrier ranks 15th. Falling into the same turn as last year, the n ° 20 of the BMW Italia team recovered this time unscathed. Phew !

Randy de Puniet was not so lucky. Victim on Monday noon of a heavy fall in the penultimate corner – like the official Ducati rider, Davide Giugliano, forfeited this weekend … – our third national representative was only able to cover about fifteen laps today…

"Not much to say, the good news is nothing is broken but my back is very sore", observes the n ° 14 who will try to take advantage of the two days of break before the free practice on Friday to recover as much as possible.

French fans, on the other hand, can rejoice in the fastest time in Supersport by vice-world champion Jules Cluzel, at the helm of his official MV Agusta F3. Our "Coq Supersportif" took advantage of these tests to break the wall of the 1 ’33, a first in the SSP category !

Our dear n ° 16 beat his new teammate Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta n ° 87) by a quarter of a second and by a good half second the three-time champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki n ° 54). No.5 rookie Marco Faccani, who teams up with the Turkish rider, sets the fourth fastest time.

On his own ZX-6R prepared by the Intermoto Ponyexpress team, the French champion Lucas Mahias won a very good fifth place. “The other” French n ° 14 – a bit Grolandais too – took the opportunity to get ahead of his n ° 99 enemy: the American Patrick Jacobsen, member of the same Kawasaki Intermoto team. Banzai !

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