News 19 Feb 2018

Melandri tops day one of WorldSBK testing at Phillip Island

Mahias leads the way in WorldSSP as Aussies off to promising start.

Image: Russell Colvin. Racing Ducati’s Marco Melandri was quickest as the opening day of Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) testing concluded at Phillip Island this afternoon, setting the tone for a strong week ahead.

The final pre-season outing prior to this weekend’s Yamaha Finance-backed opener, Melandri posted a 1m30.726s lap of the Victorian circuit to lead Kawasaki duo Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea.

As the top six were separated within a second – including Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda), Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) and Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) in positions four through six – times were tight at the top and the margins were even more minor working down the order.

Melandri’s benchmark came in the opening session, three-tenths fastest than Sykes, who set the pace in the second session. World champion Rea’s day ended early following a crash in FP1 at turn 11, however van der Mark was the top rider to improve on his lap this afternoon.

Top of the Australian guests was Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team) in 16th, as his 1m33.180s was 2.454s from the pace-setting time of Melandri. Penrite Honda Racing’s Troy Herfoss slotted into P19, with second of the factory Yamahas Daniel Falzon in 21st.

In World Supersport it was defending title-holder Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha) who led the way with a 1m34.088s, placing him 0.329s ahead of teammate Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha) and Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing Triumph).

Series newcomer Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing Yamaha) – the 2012 Moto3 world champion – impressed in fourth, just ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). There were 11 riders who lapped within a second, including Anthony West (EAB West Racing Kawasaki) in P8.

Of the remaining Australians in the field, wildcard Tom Toparis (Cube Racing Kawasaki) was 19th today, 2.230s from the leader, while series full-timer Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) completed the field in position 24.

A full day of testing continues at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on Tuesday, before Friday’s opening practices of the 2018 world championship.

Detailed results (WorldSBK)

Detailed results (WorldSSP)