Phillip Island hosted the final Official Test for World Superbike ahead of the season opener with all five manufacturers inside the top six after the first day
The opening day of the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Official Test came to an end with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) leading the field after posting a time in the 1’30 bracket. In a frantic session where almost every rider improved on their morning times, drops of rain, red flags and constant unpredictability made for an action-packed opening day of testing.
Toprak Razgatlioglu had been top of the last test at Portimao and he consolidated his position as ‘man to beat’ ahead of the opening weekend, slamming in a strong lap time that edged him clear of Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team). Toprak, like teammate Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team), had been focusing on some small upgrades to the bike and trying to find the balance between performance and durability of the tyres. Van der Mark himself was one of just two riders to not improve in the afternoon, finishing seventh come the end of the day.
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK), who was looking to refine set-ups of his bike after working on chassis and electronics in the previous tests at Jerez and Portimao, finished second in the classification for the day, with just 0.022s separating Sykes from Razgatlioglu. Sykes’ teammate Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was in eighth place and less than a second off of the top time, focusing on race runs and aiming to bag as much dry running as possible.
It was even closer between Sykes and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Yamaha Racing) in third place as he was just 0.015s from Sykes and 0.037s from Razgatlioglu. Baz has been a stand-out performer in pre-season testing and is hoping that his pace translates into the races. Baz was subsequently top Independent rider too as Yamaha topped and tailed the top three.
Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing WorldSBK Team) continued to show his pace from the Jerez test with fourth at Phillip Island, after focusing on tyre performance ahead of the Yamaha Finance Australian Round. Rea’s prowess at Phillip Island has been notable in the past but is without a victory at the circuit since 2017, something he will use testing to work towards. His teammate Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was in ninth place, despite suffering a Turn 4 crash – rider OK.
Leon Haslam (Team HRC) completed the top five at the end of day one. Honda’s return as a full-factory outfit meant it has been focusing on multiple aspects of the bike ahead of the season-opening round at what he has already stated as his “favourite circuit”. Haslam’s teammate, Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC), was down in 15th and 1.8s off. The 2019 triple race winner at Phillip Island will be aiming to get back on the pace on Tuesday.
Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was the fastest Ducati rider in sixth place after using the test to do race runs in order to carry out some fine-tuning to the set-up. Redding feels confident following Ducati’s 2019 results at Phillip Island and at a track where he has historically gone well at in Moto2™ and MotoGP™. His teammate, Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), was down in tenth, 1.373s off the top time from Toprak Razgatlioglu.
On the fringes of the top ten was Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) in 11th, as he aims to gel with the ZX-10RR. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) was 12th, ahead of Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and an impressive Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura). Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) was in 16th, one place ahead of teammate Garrett Gerloff, whilst Leon Camier (Barni Racing Team) was 18th on his return.
The second session had been disrupted by rain while the opening session had ended 30 minutes early following oil on track between Turns 3 and 4, caused by Takumi Takahashi’s (MIE Racing Althea Honda Team) Honda. Takahashi finished in 19th overall. Action continues tomorrow, and you can follow it with the WorldSBK App.
Below are the top six from combined times. Find the full combined times here.
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) 1.’30.740
- Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.022
- Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.037
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.256
- Leon Haslam (Team HRC) +0.456
- Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +0.496
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