Phillip Island, Australia
Broc Parkes leaves the Phillip Island World Supersport test on top of the timesheets. The Ten Kate Honda rider set the fastest time in the last session of the final test ahead of the WSS season opener at Phillip Island, which kicks off on Friday, just edging the Kawasakis of Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret, who had been fastest on Monday. The Hondas found a little more on the second day of the test, with PTR Honda's Sam Lowes heading the morning session, before slipping back to 4th in the afternoon, still less than a tenth behind the two Kawasakis, but over a third of a second behind the Ten Kate bike of Parkes.
Ex-Moto2 rider Jules Cluzel made a strong debut in the class, ending the test in 5th on his first ride out on a Supersport machine, and taking 2 seconds off his fastest lap over the course of the two-day test. Vittorio Iannuzzo was the last man inside a second of Parkes, the Triumph rider just over three quarters of a second back from the leader.
Official times after both days of the test for the World Supersport class:
Press releases from Infront and the World Superbike and World Superport teams after the first day of testing at Phillip Island:
Less than a week after the private test concluded at the Phillip Island circuit, the World Superbike riders were back in action again on Monday, for the first day of the official preseason test ahead of this weekend's WSBK season opener. Carlos Checa picked up where he left off, topping the timesheets in both the morning and afternoon sessions, and immediately within a tenth of a second of the fastest time the Althea Ducati rider set here last week.
Challenging Checa was the Italian Armada who pushed him for the title in 2011. Aprilia's Max Biaggi led the way, getting within a couple of tenths of the Spaniard, while Marco Melandri and his team at BMW clearly learned a lot at last week's test, the Italian posting the 3rd fastest time just under three tenths off the time of Checa. Ten Kate Honda's Johnny Rea - resplendent in a new Honda livery - was a little further behind in 4th, the Ulsterman having tested here privately back in January, while the unfortunate Leon Haslam took the 5th fastest time, though his day ended during the first session, after the BMW rider crashed heavily in the final corner, and taken to hospital with an ankle injury. Haslam was later diagnosed with a fractured heel and a damaged tibia, Haslam is currently waiting to have a screw inserted in his leg, in the hope of being fit enough to race this weekend.
The Kawasakis lead the way after the first day of the official World Supersport test at Phillip Island, with Fabien Foret already closing in on his race lap record of 1'34.941 set last year. Foret finished a quarter of a second ahead of former WSS champion Kenan Sofuoglu, returning to the series after an unsuccessful foray into Moto2 in 2011. Ten Kate Honda's Broc Parkes was fastest in the afternoon session, but the Australian was unable to beat the outright times of the Kawasakis, falling just short of Sofuoglu's time, while Bodganka PTR's Sam Lowes ended both sessions a quarter of a second off the time of Parkes, and nearly half a second ahead of another Moto2 refugee, Jules Cluzel.
Testing continues tomorrow.
John Hopkins has been officially ruled out of the first race of the 2012 World Superbike season at Phillip Island. The American broke a bone in his right hand after crashing on the first day of the private WSBK test at Phillip Island last week. Hopkins highsided his Suzuki GSX-R 1000 at Turn 2, landing badly and fracturing his hand.
Hopkins flew home to California after the crash, to be treated by the specialist who treated the complications he suffered on a finger he broke at Brno in August of last year. The American is currently waiting for the swelling to go down on his hand, before surgery to repair the fractured bone.
Though Hopkins will miss the first race of the season in Australia, he has nearly six weeks to recover until the next race at Imola in Italy. The Crescent Fixi Suzuki WSBK team expect him to be fit in time for that round.
The official Suzuki press release appears below:
HOPKINS PLANS RETURN AT IMOLA WSB
Team Suzuki Press Office - February 17.
John Hopkins has been confirmed a non-starter for next week's opening round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island in Australia but will be back on track at Imola next month.
Press releases from the World Superbike teams after the private test at Phillip Island:
2012 Phillip Island WSBK Private Test Overall Times After Day 3: Checa On Record Pace, With Sykes Close Behind
Carlos Checa is looking in very good shape to start his defense of his 2011 World Superbike title, after ending the three-day private test at Phillip Island at the top of the timesheets and on lap record pace. At the end of the test, Checa's best time - set on race tires - was around the pace of Troy Corser's race lap record from 2007, but the Althea Ducati rider had Kawasaki's Tom Sykes snapping at his heels, just a tenth behind the pace of Checa. Leon Haslam leaves the test with the 3rd fastest time, though the BMW man set the fastest time on a soft qualifying tire, while Aprilia's Max Biaggi is not far behind, half a second off the pace of Checa but just a tenth slower than Haslam on qualifiers.
Carlos Checa took advantage of the hotter conditions at Phillip Island on Tuesday to seize the initiative during the second day of the private World Superbike test in Australia. The Althea Ducati rider took nearly a second off his time to get down to something approaching race pace, after finding a slightly different front-end setup for his 1198R. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes continued to impress, ending the second day of testing just a tenth off the pace of Checa, and another tenth ahead of Aprilia's Max Biaggi, while Eugene Laverty was two tenths slower than his Aprilia teammate.
Tom Sykes got his 2012 World Superbike campaign off to a good start, topping the timesheets after the first day of testing at the private WSBK test at Phillip Island. The Provec Kawasaki rider ended the day ahead of reigning World Champion Carlos Checa, and Aprilia's new recruit Eugene Laverty, while the two BMWs of Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam took spots 4 and 5.
Without any unofficial timing, several versions of the timesheets were circulating, based on various sources from the teams - GPOne.com has a timesheet showing two of the sets of times supplied. According to the official World Superbike website, sources inside the Althea Ducati team said Checa matched Sykes' pace of 1:33.0, despite the Ducati having had a weight penalty of 6kg imposed as part of the performance-balancing rule changes made over the winter. Checa's day was brought to an end when the Spaniard encountered what were described as "large waterfowl" crossing the track, which Checa just managed to miss. Less lucky was John Hopkins: the Fixi Crescent Suzuki rider highsided off at Turn 2, breaking a bone in his right hand, just weeks after having a finger on the same hand amputated due to complications from a previous fracture.
John Hopkins' run of bad luck with hand injuries continues. The American has suffered yet another broken bone in his right hand, after crashing during a private World Superbike test at Phillip Island, ahead of the first round of the series in just under two weeks' time. Hopkins highsided at Turn 2, landing on his right hand, and fracturing a bone at the base of the hand.
The crash was doubly unfortunate for Hopkins. The American landed on his right hand, the hand which he had only recently had surgery on to remove the damaged ring finger. That injury had been sustained in 2011, the American crashing during practice for a wildcard appearance at the Brno round of MotoGP. Hopkins then had to cancel a second wildcard appearance at Sepang after the strain of riding a MotoGP bike separated the bone which had already partially healed, and eventually led the American to have the finger amputated.
Hopkins has now flown home to California to have his hand examined by his specialist Dr Chao. The American is in doubt for the first round of World Superbikes at Phillip Island, but with over six weeks until the second round of WSBK at Imola in Italy, he should not be forced to miss any other races.
Below is the press release from Suzuki announcing Hopkins' injury:
The Honda Racing press office issued a press release and video after the Ten Kate World Superbike squad tested the 2012 CBR1000RR at Phillip Island. The video follows below, after the press release:
Press releases announcing that riders are going testing is the first sign of motorcycle racing's equivalent of spring. Today, Honda (no longer Castrol Honda, though Castrol remain as a "key secondary partner") announced that their World Superbike riders Johnny Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama are to go testing at Phillip Island this week, in the run up to the first WSBK round there at the end of February. The long wait is nearly over for race fans.
Below is the official press release from Honda:
The MotoGP schedule for the 2012 season has been tweaked a little, and there is some good news for fans: the season starts seven days earlier, with the Qatar MotoGP round having been moved up a week to April 8th. The move is in response to the Formula One calendar, which sees the Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 15th, the date originally planned for Qatar, and so the decision was taken to start the MotoGP season a week earlier.
The other changes to the calendar are merely confirmations of what had been widely expected. The German GP is now officially set to take place at the Sachsenring, although as the contracts are yet to be completed, the date is still listed as being subject to contract. Those contracts are a mere formality, however, as the ADAC and the regional government came to an agreement earlier this month to keep the German round of MotoGP at the circuit in Hohenstein-Ernstthal. The Jerez round has also been confirmed, with the mayor of the circuit stepping in to ensure the 2012 date. Beyond 2012 is another matter, however, as the circuit is still in financial turmoil, stemming from alterations made back in 2001, and with new rounds in Argentina and Texas scheduled for 2013, Jerez could well be dropped after that date.
2012 World Superbike Test Dates Announced - Testing Added To Australian, Spanish, Italian And Russian WSBK Rounds
Infront Motor Sports, organizers of the World Superbike series, have announced the official test dates for the 2012 WSBK season. As part of the cost-cutting initiatives which are now a ubiquitous part of motorcycle racing, testing for the WSBK series has been linked to races, rather than at separate tests, with the aim of reducing travel and transport expenses.
The first test is the traditional pre-season test at Phillip Island, taking place on the Monday and Tuesday before the 2012 season season opener at the Australian circuit. The following test is at Imola, on the Monday after the race at the legendary Italian track at the beginning of April. The Spanish WSBK round at the Motorland Aragon circuit in July also features a test on the Monday after the race, while the teams will get a one-day test - in effect, an extra day of practice - ahead of the inaugural Russian round of World Superbikes at the Moscow Raceway being built just outside the Russian capital.
Below is the press release from Infront announcing the test dates:
SBK official 2012 tests dates announced
FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix