Tom Sykes looks ready for the defence of his World Superbike title after setting the pace in official testing at Phillip Island. The 2014 season starts in Australia on Sunday and Sykes will go into the weekend as the man to beat, the Yorkshireman leading Suzuki pair Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes over the two day test.
With Phillip Island not among Kawasaki’s stronger circuits last year, Sykes is encouraged to see himself at the top of the timesheets already.
“I am happy with the results of these two days of testing at Phillip Island. In the last couple of days we have done a lot of laps to confirm the remaining test items, so to be fastest and be one of the most consistent riders as well, I have to be very happy with that. Phillip Island has never been our main event, so to speak, so to be up there for pace already is very good. I know the conditions have caught a lot of people out already but I know we can now go to the race weekend with more of a clear understanding of what to do. Now we will turn our focus more on performance, pure performance, over the race weekend. I will go away and have a couple of days winding down and relaxing and come back on Friday morning ready to go again.”
The Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team look set to challenge Sykes with Laverty and Lowes within three tenths of the Kawasaki. Lowes, the reigning British Superbike champion, is pleasantly surprised to be among the pacesetters at such an early stage.
“The test has been good. I’m happy to be in the top-three overall over the two-days. I’ve worked really hard, I was consistent this afternoon, we had a few issues but it would be impossible not to be happy really. I don’t think many people expected me to be this close already and with a couple of days to reflect we should be in a stronger position for the weekend. I’m loving riding the GSX-R, it’s a bike you can really push and it seems to be a bit like me – the harder it’s worked the better it goes! Thanks to everyone on the team, we have a great atmosphere and I’m enjoying myself.”
Less than a second covered the top ten riders with Marco Melandri and Davide Giugliano leading Aprilia and Ducati’s respective challenges in fourth and fifth. Loris Baz was sixth ahead of compatriot Sylvain Guintoli with Honda teammates Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea eighth and ninth, just pipping Chaz Davies on the second Ducati Panigale.
Niccolo Canepa was the leading EVO class rider in eleventh but Jeremy Guarnoni and Luca Scassa won’t be able to stake their claim in that particular class this weekend after picking up injuries in heavy accidents.
|2014 eni SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – PHILLIP ISLAND TEST|
|1||TOM SYKES||KAWASAKI||KAWASAKI RACING TEAM||1:30.239|
|2||EUGENE LAVERTY||SUZUKI||VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI||1:30.513|
|3||ALEX LOWES||SUZUKI||VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI||1:30.528|
|4||MARCO MELANDRI||APRILIA||APRILIA RACING TEAM||1:30.579|
|5||DAVIDE GIUGLIANO||DUCATI||DUCATI SUPERBIKE TEAM||1:30.644|
|6||LORIS BAZ||KAWASAKI||KAWASAKI RACING TEAM||1:30.757|
|7||SYLVAIN GUINTOLI||APRILIA||APRILIA RACING TEAM||1:30.766|
|8||LEON HASLAM||HONDA||PATA HONDA WORLD SUPERBIKE||1:30.798|
|9||JONATHAN REA||HONDA||PATA HONDA WORLD SUPERBIKE||1:30.813|
|10||CHAZ DAVIES||DUCATI||DUCATI SUPERBIKE TEAM||1:31.087|
|11||NICCOLO CANEPA||EVO||DUCATI||ALTHEA RACING||1:31.373|
|12||TONI ELIAS||APRILIA||RED DEVILS ROMA||1:31.441|
|13||DAVID SALOM||EVO||KAWASAKI||KAWASAKI RACING TEAM||1:32.008|
|14||FABIEN FORET||EVO||KAWASAKI||MAHI RACING TEAM INDIA||1:32.780|
|15||CLAUDIO CORTI||MV AGUSTA||MV AGUSTA RC-YAKHNICH MOTORSPORT||1:32.858|
|16||SHERIDAN MORAIS||EVO||KAWASAKI||IRON BRAIN KAWASAKI SBK||1:32.895|
|17||JEREMY GUARNONI||EVO||KAWASAKI||MRS KAWASAKI||1:32.897|
|18||SYLVAIN BARRIER||EVO||BMW||BMW MOTORRAD ITALIA SBK||1:32.997|
|19||A. ANDREOZZI||EVO||KAWASAKI||TEAM PEDERCINI||1:33.205|
|20||LUCA SCASSA||EVO||KAWASAKI||TEAM PEDERCINI||1:33.960|
|21||MICHEL FABRIZIO||EVO||KAWASAKI||IRON BRAIN KAWASAKI SBK||1:34.314|
|22||IMRE TOTH||BMW||BMW TEAM TOTH||1:34.750|
|23||GEOFF MAY||EBR||TEAM HERO EBR||1:34.807|
|24||AARON YATES||EBR||TEAM HERO EBR||1:36.662|
|25||PETER SEBESTYEN||EVO||BMW||BMW TEAM TOTH||1:42.242|