Phillip Island, Australia
Carlos Checa led Sunday's morning warm up from Philip Island by more than a half-second over Tom Sykes. Checa put in a string of 1'31 lap times that's only been rivaled throughout the entire weekend by Max Biaggi during Saturday's qualifying session.
Press releases and video from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Saturday's practice at Phillip Island:
Broc Parkes bagged the 15th pole of his career at Phillip Island, taking over from Kenan Sofuoglu at the end of the session, and holding off late charges from Sam Lowes and Jules Cluzel in a delayed World Supersport session, Parkes' advantage over Lowes just sixteen thousandths of a second. Honda's dominate the front row, with the Ten Kate bike of Broc Parkes ahead of the Bogdanka PTR of Lowes and the PTR of Cluzel, while the Kawasakis follow, Sofuoglu taking the final spot on the front row, ahead of Fabien Foret and Sheridan Morais.
Saturday’s World Superbike Superpole and World Supersport final qualifying sessions from Philip Island were cancelled after a serious accident in the Australian Supersport race resulted in the death of Australian rider Oscar McIntyre. The 17-year-old collided with fellow racers Luke Burgess and Michael Lockhart on the second lap of the Australian support race and died despite receiving immediate medical treatment at the scene. Because of the seriousness of the accident, the event organizers decided to cancel Superpole.
Max Biaggi may have finished Saturday's final free practice session atop the timing screens, but the man on the move is, you guessed it, Carlos Checa. Checa put in 12 laps in the 1'32 range, while Biaggi managed just three. If Saturday's final free practice session is anything to go on, the field will struggle to hold on to the back of Checa for more than a handful of laps.
Marco Melandri jumped to third place in the session aboard his BMW, followed by Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes rounding out the top five. All three had very similar race paces to that of Biaggi, which should make this afternoon's Superpole session all the more important.
If Friday was Honda's day in World Supersport, Saturday morning belonged to Kawasaki. Kenan Sofuoglu led Sheridan Morais in a DeltaFin Lorenzini Kawasaki one-two. Pawel Szkopek and Sam Lowes finished third and fourth respectively for Simon Buckmaster's PTR Honda team. Rounding out the top five was Fabien Foret on his Step Kawasaki, some four-tenths off the 2007 World Supersport Champion's pace.
Tom Sykes led Saturday's second qualifying session by overshadowing the battle developing between Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi. The Kawaski man put in a time good enough to stay atop the sheets for the final 20 minutes of the session, despite the Ducatis and Aprilias of Checa and Biaggi exchanging quick times good enough for second place. Jakub Smrz fired in a time good enough for fourth with less than 10 minutes left in the session. Effenbert Liberty Ducati teammate Sylvain Guintoli rounded out the top five.
UPDATE: Chaz Davies, who crashed at turn two in the closing moments of the session, has been diagnosed with a fractured left radius.
Press releases from the WSBK and WSS teams and from Infront Motor Sports after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
Johnny Rea has pulled off the first upset of the weekend at Phillip Island, by posting a sub-1'32 lap during the first session of qualifying for the World Superbike class to seize provisional pole. In the dying seconds of QP1, the Honda WSBK man took nearly a second off his best time to usurp the Ducatis, which had dominated until then, and seize the top spot. Rea's fast time demoted Effenbert Liberty's Jakub Smrz into 2nd spot, who had himself pushed Carlos Checa off provisional pole a few moments earlier.
The Althea Ducati man ended the session behind both Rea and Smrz, but more surprisingly, Checa also ended up slower than his rookie teammate Davide Giugliano, albeit by just a few hundredths of a second. Max Biaggi inserted his factory Aprilia between Checa and yet another Ducati, this time of Niccolo Canepa, while Tom Sykes led the Kawasakis in 7th, ahead of teammate Joan Lascorz in 8th.
Ten Kate Honda's Broc Parkes sits on provisional pole after the first day of practice for the World Supersport class at the Australian's home round at Phillip Island. Parkes took control in the early part of the session, but as the first qualifying practice started to wind down, Sam Lowes, Jules Cluzel and Fabien Foret did what they could to make life uncomfortable for Parkes. In the end there was almost nothing to choose between them: though Parkes came out on top, his advantage over French Moto2 refugee Jules Cluzel was just twenty-six hundredths, while Cluzel ended a mere six thousandths of a second ahead of Sam Lowes. Fabien Foret was the first Kawasaki rider to break the Honda hegemony putting his Lorenzini Kawasaki into 4th, just ahead of fellow former champion and Kawasaki teammate Kenan Sofuoglu.
Carlos Checa started the defense of his 2011 World Superbike title as he meant to continue, taking control of the first session of free practice for the 2012 season opener just over 10 minutes in and never relinquishing the position again. Max Biaggi confirmed that he is still in excellent shape, finishing just under two tenths behind the Althea Ducati, while the Aprilia man had another Ducati behind him, this time the Effenbert Liberty bike of Jakub Smrz. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes ended the first day half a second from Checa in 4th spot, while Honda's Johnny Rea took 5th.
Press releases from Infront, and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the two-day test at Phillip Island:
Tom Sykes took top honors on the second day of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island, the Yorkshireman just nipping ahead of Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa in the early stages of the morning session to set the fastest lap of the two-day test. Though Checa was fastest again in the afternoon session, the 2011 World Champion could not get under the time set by Sykes, falling just four thousandths short.
Jakub Smrz also found a burst of speed on Tuesday morning, the Effenbert Liberty Ducati rider taking over a second off his time from Monday to end the test with the 3rd fastest time, a tenth of a second ahead of Honda's Johnny Rea. Aprilia's Max Biaggi took 5th spot after the two days of testing, just under four tenths slower than Sykes, while Marco Melandri heads into the first round of the WSBK season with the 6th fastest time. Melandri failed to improve his time on Tuesday, falling just a few hundredths short of the fastest lap he set on Monday.