Alex Lowes showed that his testing performance was no flash in the pan by setting the pace in Friday practice ahead of this weekend’s season opener at Phillip Island. The Suzuki rider set a scorching pace in the morning and although he wasn’t quite as quick when temperatures climbed in the afternoon, he retained a three tenth advantage over Aprilia’s Jordi Torres.
Picking up exactly where he left off in Tuesday’s test, Lowes broke straight into the 1:31s with his first lap of the morning. The Briton improved to a 1:30.855 two laps later to beat his testing benchmark and open up a six tenth advantage over his nearest challengers. Torres came closest to threatening the Suzuki, setting a 1:31.214 with his final lap of the morning, while Tom Sykes also left it late to grab third.
The afternoon session was dominated by the Aprilia riders with Torres leading a 1-2 for the Red Devils-run team ahead of Leon Haslam. The Spanish rookie didn’t better his FP1 team and subsequently stayed in second but Haslam did make a marginal improvement, consolidating fourth ahead of Jonathan Rea and Nicolas Terol.
The big climber in the afternoon session was Michael van der Mark who gained almost three quarters of a second to secure seventh spot overnight. The Dutchman is the sole Honda in Superpole 2 as it stands with defending champion Sylvain Guintoli languishing down in twelfth behind Chaz Davies, David Salom, Randy de Puniet and Leon Camier.
Another big name lying outside the top ten is Troy Bayliss after a difficult return to World Superbikes for the three-time champion. Technical problems restricted him to three laps in the morning and although he enjoyed more track time in the afternoon, the home favourite could only climb as high as eighteenth.
SWANN INSURANCE AUSTRALIAN ROUND: FRIDAY PRACTICE CLASSIFICATION
Top Ten Riders After FP3 Automatically Qualify For Superpole 2
|1||Alex Lowes||Suzuki||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||1:30.855|
|2||Jordi Torres||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils||1:31.214|
|3||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:31.403|
|4||Leon Haslam||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils||1:31.466|
|5||Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:31.541|
|6||Nicolas Terol||Ducati||Althea Racing||1:31.614|
|7||Michael van der Mark||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike||1:31.693|
|8||Chaz Davies||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team||1:31.748|
|9||David Salom||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1:31.855|
|10||Randy de Puniet||Suzuki||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||1:31.881|
|11||Leon Camier||MV Agusta||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||1:32.135|
|12||Sylvain Guintoli||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike||1:32.329|
|13||Sylvain Barrier||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK||1:32.393|
|14||Matteo Baiocco||Ducati||Althea Racing||1:32.565|
|15||Leandro Mercado||Ducati||Barni Racing Team||1:33.060|
|16||Matthew Walters||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1:33.091|
|17||Roman Ramos||Kawasaki||Team Go Eleven||1:33.193|
|18||Troy Bayliss||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team||1:33.490|
|19||Jed Metcher||Kawasaki||Race Center – Demolition Plus||1:33.814|
|20||Niccolo Canepa||EBR||Team Hero EBR||1:33.974|
|21||Santiago Barragan||Kawasaki||Grillini SBK Team||1:34.321|
|22||Larry Pegram||EBR||Team Hero EBR||1:34.594|
|23||Gabor Rizmayer||BMW||BMW Team Toth||1:34.633|
|24||Christophe Ponsson||Kawasaki||Grillini SBK Team||1:36.116|
|25||Imre Toth||BMW||BMW Team Toth||1:36.699|