Alex Lowes made an ideal start to his first full season in World Superbikes by setting the pace in Friday practice at Phillip Island. The reigning British Superbike champion was quickest in a dry FP2 after rain effectively washed out the opening session of the year.
With riders intent on saving tyres ahead of the weekend, there was very little action to speak of in FP1 until the final five minutes although Jonathan Rea’s quickest time was some way from the expected dry pace. FP2 more than made up for the lack of drama although Chaz Davies would have preferred a much quieter session with his highside at turn nine the big incident this afternoon.
Lowes had a trouble free Friday though and is now focussing on translating today’s performance into a good grid position.
“Today was good. The wind was really bad and affecting the bike a lot, but we still made some progress in certain areas. I’m looking forward to going out tomorrow and confirming that it is definitely better when the weather’s more favourable. I really like Phillip Island; when a track is as windy as it’s been today it is hard to enjoy it, but I think it’s a great track, and I’m looking forward to the racing here. I still need to work hard to see if we can be in a good position for tomorrow and the race on Sunday, we have a lot of refinements still to do with the electronics and the suspension so we’ll put our heads together tonight and see what we can improve for tomorrow.”
The Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team looked set for a 1-2 at one stage but Marco Melandri sneaked into second for Aprilia with Davide Giugliano making up for his teammate’s accident by taking third for Ducati. Defending champion Tom Sykes finished the day in fourth ahead of Jonathan Rea with Laverty demoted to sixth, albeit just three tenths off the pace.
Leon Haslam was seventh on the second Honda ahead of Loris Baz who also took a tumble during FP2 with Davies slipping to ninth after his crash. Sylvain Guintoli currently holds the last automatic Q2 spot in tenth with Toni Elias the rider with work to do in eleventh, three tenths outside the cut-off point.
|2014 eni SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 1 – PHILLIP ISLAND|
|COMBINED FREE PRACTICE CLASSIFICATION (TOP TEN AFTER FP3 AUTOMATICALLY ADVANCE TO Q2)|
|1||ALEX LOWES||SUZUKI||VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI||1:31.100|
|2||MARCO MELANDRI||APRILIA||APRILIA RACING TEAM||1:31.137|
|3||DAVIDE GIUGLIANO||DUCATI||DUCATI SUPERBIKE TEAM||1:31.205|
|4||TOM SYKES||KAWASAKI||KAWASAKI RACING TEAM||1:31.395|
|5||JONATHAN REA||HONDA||PATA HONDA WORLD SUPERBIKE||1:31.436|
|6||EUGENE LAVERTY||SUZUKI||VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI||1:31.448|
|7||LEON HASLAM||HONDA||PATA HONDA WORLD SUPERBIKE||1:31.533|
|8||LORIS BAZ||KAWASAKI||KAWASAKI RACING TEAM||1:31.637|
|9||CHAZ DAVIES||DUCATI||DUCATI SUPERBIKE TEAM||1:31.757|
|10||SYLVAIN GUINTOLI||APRILIA||APRILIA RACING TEAM||1:31.759|
|11||TONI ELIAS||APRILIA||RED DEVILS ROMA||1:32.073|
|12||NICCOLO CANEPA||DUCATI||ALTHEA RACING||1:32.340|
|13||FABIEN FORET||KAWASAKI||MAHI RACING TEAM INDIA||1:32.734|
|14||DAVID SALOM||KAWASAKI||KAWASAKI RACING TEAM||1:32.944|
|15||GLENN ALLERTON||BMW||BMW MOTORRAD ITALIA SBK||1:33.118|
|16||CLAUDIO CORTI||MV AGUSTA||MV AGUSTA RC-YAKHNICH MOTORSPORT||1:33.119|
|17||SHERIDAN MORAIS||KAWASAKI||IRON BRAIN KAWASAKI SBK||1:33.635|
|18||ALESSANDRO ANDREOZZI||KAWASAKI||TEAM PEDERCINI||1:33.996|
|19||JEREMY GUARNONI||KAWASAKI||MRS KAWASAKI||1:34.279|
|20||GEOFF MAY||EBR||TEAM HERO EBR||1:34.640|
|21||IMRE TOTH||BMW||BMW TEAM TOTH||1:35.117|
|22||LUCA SCASSA||KAWASAKI||TEAM PEDERCINI||1:35.810|
|23||AARON YATES||EBR||TEAM HERO EBR||1:36.338|
|24||PETER SEBESTYEN||BMW||BMW TEAM TOTH||1:39.076|