Archive - Race Or Practice Result
February 22nd, 2014
The new MotoGP-style qualifying took place at a dry Phillip Island.
In the only true Free Practice session, one that does not count towards Superpole entry, Davide Giugliano went quicker than all but Alex Lowes in the timed sessions. Tom Sykes reassuringly sat in second place ahead of Sylvain Guintoli.
Kenan Sofuoglu escaped from the clutches of Michael Van Der Mark by eleven thousandths of a second, retaining the top spot before final qualifying. PJ Jacobsen, the American by way of British Superbike, was in third place ahead of Kev Coghlan and series rookie Ratthapark Wilairot. The MV Agusta pair of Vladimir Leonov and Jules Cluzel are the only other riders under 1'34.
Alex Lowes demionstrated that his Friday performance was not a one-off by putting his Suzuki in provisional pole ahead of his teammate. Eugene Laverty on the other GSX-R1000 was within xxx, with the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies sitting in third and fourth places, following in Carlos Checa's qualifying performance from last year. Tom Sykes, world champion and qualifying maven, assured that he'd be in the top qualifying group while Niccolo Canepa makes history by putting his EVO Ducati Panigale into Superpole 2 amongst the full-SBK spec bikes.
Marco Melandri crshed easly on, ensuring that he was unable to improve on his best time from yesterday, but his Friday time was enough to keep him in the top qualifying group.
Phillip Island is unique. The opening race is held in the southern hemisphere, seven weeks before the circus gets to Europe. The track has its own climate and last year’s resurfacing still makes the track abrasive. Testing here took place last week, which gave teams a bit of additional setup, but it also took its toll in injuries, something that continued into the qualifying runs. The morning’s session in both Superbike and Supersport were lost to rain, but the afternoon sessions ran without a problem.
On his first day on the job, Alex Lowes tops his first timing sheet. The British Superbike champion, and twin brother of Sam, the World Supersport champion, recorded seven 1'31 laps on his Suzuki GSX-R1000. Marco Melandri, on the newly liveried silver Aprilia, adapted quickly to his new machine ahead of Davide Giugliano and Tom Sykes.
Without his rival of last year, Sofuoglu showed why he's a favourite for the title this year, setting the fastest time, two-thirds of a second faster than the rest of the field, as soon as conditions allowed, setting the fastest lap just ten minutes into the session. As the only rider to get a 1'33 lap, and several of them at that, pole position is well within his grasp.
Kev Coghlan, second fastest, was able to record a few consistent 1'34s together while Rafael De Rosa in third was only able to get one lap faster than fourth-fastest Michael Van Der Mark, another rider with consistent quick laps.
As the weather in Australia dampens both the track and the teams' enthusiasm, very few riders were able to get a lap that was worth anything in. At the end of the session, as conditions allowed, a handful of riders set out and recorded times that just show that their data loggers work, and very little else.
The opening Free Practice session for World Supersport ended with only four riders recording a complete lap. The rain ensured most riders just stayed in their garages.
Times at the end of day 3:
Times at the end of Day 3:
In the Moto2 class at Jerez, the battle continues between Interwetten's Tom Luthi and Marc VDS Racing rider Tito Rabat, with Rabat's teammate Mika Kallio giving chase. Luthi was strong all day, and though Rabat put in a late charge to head the final session, he fell just under a tenth short of the time of the Swiss rider.
The top of the Moto2 timesheets showed a good spread of nationalities. Behind the Swiss leader, Spaniard in 2nd slot and Finn in 3rd, Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami grabbed 4th, veteral Italian - or more properly, San Marinese - Alex de Angelis bagged fifth, and the young British rider and World Supersport champion Sam Lowes snagged sixth spot. Lowes is adapting very quickly to the Moto2 class, despite having to deal with a lack of electronics and radically different tires.
Series tire supplier Dunlop added a note of interest to the proceedings today, announcing that as of this year, they will be marking the tire compound visibly at this year's races. This will make it possible for fans to easily identify which riders are on the soft, which on the medium and which on the hard compounds from now on. The soft tires will have black lettering on a yellow background, medium will have black lettering on a silver background, and hard will have yellow lettering on a black background.
Aki Ajo's teams have a firm grip on the Moto3 class on the second day of testing at Jerez. Jack Miller ended the day on top of the timesheets, well inside the pole record set by Alex Rins in May last year. Miller's teammate Karel Hanika grabbed second spot, the Red Bull Rookie Cup champion of 2013 making an outstanding debut in the class. Rounding out the top three was Danny Kent on the factory Husqvarna, an operation which is also run by Aki Ajo.
Though Miller's time was out of reach of the rest, over a third of a second quicker than the chasing mob, the group that followed was close. Karel Hanika was strong all session, Danny Kent putting on a late charge to challenge Hanika at the end of the session, ending the day just a thousandth behind the Czech rider. Italian Romano Fenati of the Team Sky VR46 squad was another four thousandths behind Kent, and his teammate Pecco Bagnaia was another two hundredths behind Fenati.
Alex Marquez was the first Honda rider, the NSF250RW showing distinct signs of improvement. Marquez ended the day just six tenths behind Miller, with Efren Vazquez and the French prodigy Fabio Quartararo a couple of hundredths behind.
Testing concludes on Thursday.
In the Moto2 class at Jerez, battle was rejoined once again by the two strongest men of the season so far, with Marc VDS Racing's Tito Rabat coming out on top this time. Like Jack Miller in Moto3, Rabat was on record pace, just a few hundredths off the pole record set by Stefan Bradl in 2011. Tom Luthi was forced to settle for 2nd, despite having led for a good part of the day, ending a quarter of a second behind the Spaniard, and a third of a second ahead of Rabat's teammate Mika Kallio.
Sam Lowes continues to make a strong debut in the Moto2 class, ending the day as 4th fastest, just ahead of the other impressive rookie Maverick Viñales, while Takaaki Nakagami was 6th, just behind Viñales. The two Mapfre Aspar riders Nico Terol and Jordi Torres, so fast at Valencia, were well down the order at Jerez, Terol 17th and 1.6 seconds down, Torres all the way back in 30th.
After the World Superbike series wrapped up their testing in Australia, on the other side of the world the Moto2 and Moto3 riders took to the track at Jerez for the second of their three preseason tests. It took a while, though, as the day started of with a track still wet from overnight rain. Track conditions had improved markedly by lunchtime, and a very full grid were soon posting very fast times indeed.
Australian Jack Miller was the fastest of the bunch, getting within a few thousandths of Luis Salom's race record set last year, and ending comfortably ahead of Isaac Viñales, the man who took his cousin Maverick's slot at Team Calvo. Danny Kent put the Husqvarna into 3rd spot, the young Briton half a second off the pace of Miller. Niccolo Antonelli, who had dominated at last week's test in Valencia, set the 4th fastest time, fractionally behind Kent but a quarter of a second ahead of fellow Italian Romano Fenati.
Efren Vazquez was the fastest Honda rider, with Racing Team Germany starting to take on some of the development of the new Honda NSF250RW now that Alex Rins has been forced to miss the test for surgery on his wrist. His replacement, the young French talent Fabio Quartararo made exactly the kind of impression many had hoped, blitzing to 11th, just behind the more experienced Alex Marquez.