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Feb 21, 2011

Checa Fastest On Day One Of Final Pre-Season World Superbike Test, At Phillip Island

Carlos Checa (7).
FIM Superbike World Championship
Phillip Island, Australia
February 21, 2011
Day One Best Test Times (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1098R), 1:31.383
2. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Ducati 1098R), 1:32.303
3. Jakub SMRZ, Czech Republic (Ducati 1098R), 1:32.316
4. Max BIAGGI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:32.383
5. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:32.453
6. Tom SYKES, Great Britain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.466
7. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Yamaha YZF-R1), 1:32.474
8. Jonathan REA, Great Britain (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:32.532
9. Leon HASLAM, Great Britain (BMW S1000RR), 1:32.578
10. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Yamaha YZF-R1), 1:32.600
11. Joan LASCORZ, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.940
12. Josh WATERS, Australia (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:33.140
13. Ruben XAUS, Spain (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:33.165
14. Troy CORSER, Australia (BMW S1000RR), 1:33.255
15. Leon CAMIER, Great Britain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:33.560
16. Noriyuki HAGA, Japan (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:33.786
17. James TOSELAND, Great Britain (BMW S1000RR), 1:33.829
18. Maxime BERGER, France (Ducati 1098R), 1:33.909
19. Bryan STARING, Australia (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:34.047
20. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:34.686
21. Roberto ROLFO, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:34.821
22. Mark AITCHISON, Australia (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:35.306
23. Akira YANAGAWA, Japan (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:35.470

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Phillip Island, 21st February 2011: Final testing for the World Superbike teams got underway today at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island, and it was Carlos Checa, Althea Racing's sole SBK entry in the 2011 championship, who dominated proceedings, making the most of the two sessions dedicated to the Superbikes and registering the overall fastest time of the day with an extremely impressive 1m31.3.

During the morning session, the Althea squad and rider Checa were out on track alongside the other teams and, in cloudy conditions (air temperature 16Ëš, track 24Ëš), the Spaniard completed nearly thirty laps with his Ducati 1198, to record a best lap time of 1m33.3. Due to the instable conditions (the morning also brought the odd rain shower), the team did not strive for the fastest lap, preferring to concentrate instead on refining the set up of the bike.

Fortunately conditions improved in time for the afternoon session and on a dry track Carlos was able to lower almost immediately, and by more than a second, his best time of the morning, lapping in an impressive 1m32.1 soon after the session began. He tested various set ups to find that which would best allow him to lap consistently fast, and made constant progress throughout the session. Not even three red flags, brought out when seagulls made an unwelcome appearance on track, caused a distraction to the Althea man. Checa thus closed day one at the top of the timesheets, with a fastest time of 1m31.3, almost a second quicker than Smrz, also riding a Ducati 1198, who closed in second position today. Of the teams that have tested at Phillip Island over the winter, Checa is until now the fastest, coming very close to the track record (1m31.0) set by Laconi during 2009's Superpole.

At the end of the first day of testing, the Althea Racing squad declared itself satisfied with the work carried out. After the long winter break, and difficult testing conditions last time out at Portimao, these two days are crucial, giving the team the opportunity to make those all important final preparations before the opening round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship, to take place this weekend at the same Australian track. Testing concludes tomorrow.

Carlos Checa
"We're very happy with today's results but this is only the beginning and I hope we can make further progress tomorrow, weather depending. This morning we took it easy, seeing as the track was damp and this in the afternoon session I began to push. We worked hard today, trying different set-ups and making modification to my seat position. I'm feeling confident, we'll see how tomorrow goes but I'd say that we'll be ready for this weekend's races."

TIMES: 1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1'31.3; 2. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'32.3; 3. Smrz (Ducati) 1'32.3; 4. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'32.3; 5. Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1'32.4; 6. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'32.4; 7. Melandri (Yamaha) 1'32.4; 8. Rea (Honda) 1'32.5

More, from a press release issued by Team Pedercini:

The Pedercini Kawasaki Team have travelled to the Australian circuit of Phillip Island a week ahead of the race weekend in order to benefit from a final two days of testing before the start of the 2011 Superbike season. These tests provide the team with a first opportunity to line up next to the other Superbike teams and riders.

Superstock 1000 FIM Cup rider Bryan Staring, current Australian Superbike champion, is participating in both testing and this weekend's race as a wild card. The Pedercini team decided to give him this important opportunity to demonstrate his capability in the World Superbike Championship.

Day one saw the riders familiarize themselves with their Kawasaki ZX-10R machines and start working on their set-ups for the year. Due to heavy rain overnight, the Pedercini riders faced a wet track this morning, under a gray and cloudy sky, and the first session was in fact conditioned by rain. Mark Aitchison was on board the Kawasaki ZX-10R for the first time this morning. He ran 20 laps to conclude in twenty-first position. Staring completed 21 laps to finish in nineteenth place, while Rolfo rode 26 laps to reach sixteenth position.

By the early afternoon the sun had started to shine at Phillip Island and the asphalt dried out. Improved track conditions meant that almost all of the riders were able to improve on times set this morning and Rolfo, Aitchison and Staring were able to continue with the planned work. The Italian rider registered the twenty-first fastest time while Staring improved a lot on his morning lap time to reach nineteenth place. Aitchison continued his Superbike apprenticeship, and improved on his earlier time by more than two seconds, to finish twenty-second position.

Phillip Island test Monday
First session : 1) Guintoli (Ducati) 2) Rea (Honda) 3) Smrz (Ducati) 4) Fabrizio (Suzuki) 5) Lascorz (Kawasaki)"¦"¦"¦16) Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1'34"869 "¦"¦. 19) Staring (Kawasaki) 1'35"808 "¦. 21) Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1'37"211

Second session : 1) Checa (Ducati) - 2) Guintoli (Ducati) 3) Smrz (Ducati) 4) Biaggi (Aprilia) 5) Fabrizio (Suzuki) "¦"¦"¦19) Staring (Kawasaki) 1'34"047 "¦"¦ 21) Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1'34"821 - 22) Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1'35"306

Roberto Rolfo :"It was a positive test day because we work a lot on the bike and I already started to ride it as I like. Of course we still have a lot of work to do but today we tested a lot of new components and I think it could be a good first step. Tomorrow I'll try to improve my best lap time to check all the work we have done during today's two test session. I found a good feeling with all my technicians that's a very important thing especially when you have to develop a new bike. We have to work more on the electronic but overall I'm satisfied with my today test".

Mark Aitchison :"The first day with my new team and bike was a big learning experience. It was the first time I've ridden a Superbike and the first time I've had to work with my new mechanics. I can say that it was a challenging first day, with some electronic problems during our time on the track, trying to understand some elements of the new Kawasaki ZX-10R. It was great to ride again after my break over the winter and I enjoyed working with my new technicians. Tomorrow I will start to focus on refining the balance and setting of the bike, to better suite my riding style".

Bryan Staring :"Today it was really an exciting day for me. The first day on a Kawasaki Superbike and with my new team. We had a small problems this morning on the electronics while this afternoon we have a much better run and a step by step I'm learning how to ride the new ZX-10R. The lap time today was not so important and I'm really satisfied because we find the right direction to work on the bike. My team worked very hard and I'm really happy to be here with Pedercini team".

More, from a press release issued by Infront Motor Sports:

Phillip Island (Australia), Monday 21 February 2011 - Indicated as one of the favourites at Phillip Island from the start, Carlos Checa (Ducati Althea Racing) got down to business in the afternoon, setting the quickest time in the second session of WSBK testing. The Spaniard held the top slot for most of the two-hour 20 minute run, and his time of 1 minute 31.383s was enough to put him almost one second ahead of second-placed man Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati). Checa's class leading lap time was only just short of the existing track best, with one full day of testing still to go.

Carlos Checa: "We know the Ducati works well here and this track I really like. We never tested with this bike here in the winter but from the beginning I felt comfortable. We started with the settings of last year's race and that was quite good. We changed some small things and understood some direction to take with set-up. Then it was just working with the tyres and I used three different ones. Now we need to check which one will be the best for the races. So we will try a long run tomorrow. But no matter the tyres we could do good lap times."

Third quickest today was Guintoli's team-mate in the Czech Republic-based team, Jakub Smrz, while another early front-runner Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) ran second for a while before dropping down to eighth.

After missing the first session, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) finally got down to work, the reigning world champion wasting no time in setting the fourth quickest mark, albeit one second away from Checa. Biaggi was one of several riders who had already tested at Phillip Island in the winter and found his bike as potent as it had been two months ago, despite the often windy weather conditions today.

The Italian was a fraction ahead of his fellow countryman Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare), while Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) and Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike team) were not far behind in sixth and seventh.

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) was the top CBR rider on show today, ahead of Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) in ninth and Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) tenth. Behind Checa, the next nine riders were crammed into a gap of less than 0.3 seconds, showing just how competitive the 2011 season is shaping up to be.

The local wildcard riders enjoyed day one of testing at their home circuit, with Josh Waters taking his Yoshimura Suzuki to a top 12 ranking, only 1.7 seconds from Checa, while Bryan Staring (Pedercini Kawasaki) was 19th of the 23 riders, 2.6 seconds from Checa.

In the final stages of the second session, several wild geese unexpectedly settled close to the track, causing the Race Direction to bring out the red flags three times, out of fears they would be a danger to the riders.

Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'31.383; 2. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'32.303; 3. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'32.316; 4. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'32.383; 5. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.453; 6. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'32.466; 7. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'32.474; 8. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'32.532; 9. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'32.578; 10. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1'32.600; 11. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'32.940; 12. Waters J. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'33.140; 13. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1'33.165; 14. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'33.255; 15. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'33.560; 16. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'33.786; etc.

World Supersport

On a totally dry track the lap times came tumbling in the second session and after 90 minutes of testing, the quickest time had been set by Fabien Foret, the Frenchman getting back to the top end of the results sheets on his new Hannspree Ten Kate Honda machine. Foret was almost one full second clear of the two Kawasaki riders David Salom and Broc Parkes.

Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) looked particularly competitive, the Brit ending up fourth quickest, despite a fall late in the second session. New WSS talent Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) was fifth ahead of Danilo Dell'Omo (Suriano Racing) riding the leading Triumph on his first appearance aboard the British three-cylinder machine. Pawel Szopek continued his encouraging run with seventh for Bogdanka PTR, ahead of Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Bike Service). Foret's team-mate Florian Marini (Hannpsree Ten Kate Honda) was ninth quickest, Kawasaki Lorenzini by Leoni rider Massimo Roccoli tenth.

James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR) had a big crash and injured his knee in the morning session, and elected to sit out the afternoon tests. He hopes to return to the action tomorrow, on the final day of the tests.

Times: 1. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'34.117; 2. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'35.042; 3. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'35.195; 4. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'36.110; 5. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'36.358; 6. Dell'Omo D. (ITA) Triumph Daytona 675 1'36.497; 7. Szkopek P. (POL) Honda CBR600RR 1'36.624; 8. Tamburini R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'36.705; etc.

More, from a press release issued by Supersonic Racing Team:

First day of testing in Australia for Maxime Berger and the Supersonic Racing Team.

Today was the first day at Phillip Island in Australia, the first of the two official test days for all the teams participating in the World Superbike Championship. The tests, organized by Infront Motorsports is held only a few days before the first race weekend which will Take part on February 25th until 27th on the Australian track.

It's the first time that the Italian Supersonic Racing Team came on this beautiful race track, while Maxime Berger raced before during a round of World Supersport in 2006. After an intensive winter test at Cartagena, Portimao and Aragon, the team from Danilo Soncini and Maxime Berger became acquainted with the Ducati 1198 and with the technical team.

The first session started on a wet track after the rain fall at night and under a cloudy sky, Maxime Berger performed 37 laps and worked with his team in finding the best set-up for his Ducati. Maxime has completed the first session in seventeenth place with a time of 1'35 "183. In the afternoon on a dried track, Maxime improved his time (1'33 "909 and on the eighteenth place) but preferred to complete the working program with his team.

First session: 1. Guintoli (Ducati) - 2. Rea (Honda) - 3. Smrz (Ducati) - 4. Fabrizio (Suzuki) - 5. Lascorz (Kawasaki) - 6. Checa (Ducati) .............17. Berger (Ducati)

Second session: 1. Checa (Ducati) - 2. Guintoli (Ducati) - 3. Smrz (Ducati) - 4. Biaggi (Aprilia) - 5. Fabrizio (Suzuki) - 6. Sykes (Kawasaki) .............18. Berger (Ducati)

Danilo Soncini (Team Manager): "We did a good part of work during this first day of testing. We have no references on this circuit and we still have so many new things to try. As we predicted, these tests days are crucial to start the season. Our goal is to stay in the group of the fastest riders and we are working hard on it."

Maxime Berger: "I really like this track, huge and very fast and with the fantastic power from the Superbike. This morning, the tests were quite difficult due to the track conditions and also because I'm not on top form (change of time zone). In the first session I could not find the right feeling with the front and we had to work hard to find the best set-up. Tomorrow we must continue our work to start the race weekend in the best conditions."
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