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Feb 17, 2014

Eugene Laverty Fastest On First Day Of World Superbike Testing At Phillip Island

Eugene Laverty (58), riding his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000, was fastest during the first day of official World Superbike testing at Phillip Island.

FIM Superbike World Championship Test

Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

February 17, 2014

Combined Day One Test Times (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Eugene Laverty, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:30.513

2. Davide Giugliano, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:30.718

3. Tom Sykes, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:30.737

4. Loris Baz, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:30.757

5. Alex Lowes, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:31.000

6. Marco Melandri, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:31.146

7. Leon Haslam, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:31.172

8. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:31.321

9. Jonathan Rea, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:31.404

10. Chaz Davies, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:31.419

11. Niccolo Canepa, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:31.897, EVO

12. Toni Elias, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:32.301

13. David Salom, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.636, EVO

14. Claudio Corti, Italy (MV Agusta F4 RR), 1:32.858

15. Sylvain Barrier, France (BMW S1000RR), 1:32.997, EVO, crash

16. Jeremy Guarnoni, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:33.509, EVO

17. Fabien Foret, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:33.676, EVO

18. Sheridan Morais, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:33.954, EVO

19. Luca Scassa, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:33.960, EVO

20. Alessandro Andreozzi, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:34.140, EVO

21. Michele Fabrizio, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:34.314, EVO, crash

22. Imre Toth, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 1:36.258

23. Geoff May, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:38.152

24. Aaron Yates, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:39.656

25. Peter Sebestyen, Hungary (BMW S1000RR) 1'42.242., EVO

More, from a press release issued by WSBK Dorna Press Office:

Laverty and Sofuoglu on top in first day of official testing

Phillip Island (Australia), Monday 17 February 2014
- Sunny conditions were the order of the day as the World Superbike riders got on track at Phillip Island for the first official test of the season. After the morning's close results the times were even closer as eight of the top ten riders narrowed the gap to pacesetter Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who, along with Kawasaki Racing Team's Loris Baz, failed to improve their lap times.

Eugene Laverty: “We surprised ourselves with the lap time today. We were a lot faster than where I’d set my goal and the fact that the bike works so well around here is nice too! Today is probably the best conditions I’ve ever had at Phillip Island, usually you have a strong head wind, strong tail wind, or it’s too hot and slippery. Today was optimum temperature with very little wind so that’s why the lap times were so quick. In terms of feedback the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R is better than any Superbike I’ve ridden here, I can really attack the course more than I ever have done, and that gives me a lot of confidence. The rear tyres are working well too, even after 24 laps we are still under my lap record so that’s definitely positive!”

The biggest step forward was made by Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team), reigning champ Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who dropped 0.8s from his morning time to end the session 5th. Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Team) remained the fastest of the EVO competitors, also improving his time, whilst fellow EVO riders Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team) and Michel Fabrizio (Iron Brain Kawasaki SBK) both crashed. The two riders were transported to the hospital for further evaluations, both undergoing x-rays for suspected pelvis injuries. 

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Great results for team Althea Racing in testing at Phillip Island

Canepa leads the Evo pack

The Althea Racing team was out on the Australian track of Phillip Island today for the first of two test days, in preparation for the first round of the World Superbike Championship that will take place on this same track over the weekend of 21 – 23 February.

Today’s sessions marked Niccolò Canepa’s track debut with Genesio Bevilacqua’s team and the Ducati 1199 Panigale R in its Evo version and results were reassuring. In the morning’s session Canepa recorded a 1’32”204, the fastest time set by an Evo rider, while in the afternoon session Niccolò was able to improve further (1’31”897), confirming his status as the fastest of the riders in his category. A great result for the Italian rider and his entire team, who were unable to carry out any winter testing and began developing their 1199 Panigale R only this morning. Tomorrow the Althea team will have another two sessions available in which to continue with the work in preparation for the upcoming race weekend.

Niccolò Canepa: “I’m really pleased with how this first day of testing has gone. I haven’t been on a bike since the final races at Jerez last season and today everything was new to me, from the team to the bike. I was worried that I’d need more time in order to find a good sensation with my Ducati Evo, but the team has done an exceptional job and I immediately felt comfortable on the bike, so much so that I was able to record some good times already this morning. We worked a lot on the bike that, let’s not forget, is totally new and the only Ducati Evo on the track. We found the right path and to be only a little over a second from the fastest Superbike is comforting and spurs us on to do even better. We’re in front of Evo riders who have done a lot of testing over the winter and this is positive, also because I know I still have a lot of room for improvement as far as adapting my riding style to the Panigale Evo is concerned.”

Genesio Bevilacqua: “Today marked our first exit of the season with the Panigale and it was a great day, in terms of both the bike and Niccolò, who put in a great performance. We weren’t focusing on lap times, but rather on the set-up of our bike. A job that we weren’t able to do over the winter and that my team has faced in the best possible way. The times recorded by Niccolò reassure us, as although he was using hard tyres he was still the quickest of the Evo riders and only a little over a second from the fastest Superbike. Tomorrow we’ll continue along the path identified today and work hard to provide Ducati with important data.”

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki finished the first day of testing at Phillip Island in Australia in fine style today with Eugene Laverty topping the times - and WSBK rookie Alex Lowes in fifth position overall with a lap time only 0.5s behind his experienced team-mate. 

Laverty took to the 4,445m Victoria circuit aboard the newly liveried Suzuki GSX-R1000 aiming for a base time of 1’33.0 with which to start the two-day test, but with conditions almost perfect he exceeded even his own expectations. Putting in a time of 1’30.5, Laverty ended the morning session as the rider to beat. New to the Phillip Island circuit, Lowes learnt the track quickly, and despite a small crash in the latter stages, concluded the first session comfortably in the top ten, with a lap time of 1’31.6 placing him eighth.

Clear blue skies allowed temperatures in the afternoon session to climb to a pleasant 23°C with a south westerly wind occasionally catching riders out. Lowes continued to improve throughout the day ending the afternoon in fourth place for the second session with a time of 1’31.0, and holding fifth in the combined standings. Laverty’s morning time proved a tough call for the challenging pack and the Irishman concluded the first day’s testing with the strongest time overall.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will now continue to assess the data collected, in readiness for tomorrow’s final day of testing at the Australian track, before the eni FIM Superbike World Championship’s first race of the 2014 season commences this Sunday.

Eugene Laverty:

“We surprised ourselves with the lap time today. We were a lot faster than where I’d set my goal and the fact that the bike works so well around here is nice too! Today is probably the best conditions I’ve ever had at Phillip Island; usually you have a strong head wind, strong tail wind, or it’s too hot and slippery. Today was optimum temperature with very little wind so that’s why the lap times were so quick. In terms of feedback the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R is better than any Superbike I’ve ridden here, I can really attack the course more than I ever have done, and that gives me a lot of confidence. The rear tyres are working well too; even after 24 laps we are still under my lap record so that’s definitely positive!”

Alex Lowes:

“Today was good fun! It’s always difficult coming to a new track but Phillip Island is a track that I have dreamed of racing on since I was a kid, I was really looking forward to it and it didn’t disappoint. It’s quite difficult to learn because of the speed but it’s fantastic. I love the last corner and Stoner Corner is probably one of the best I’ve ever ridden around. I had a couple of issues with the bike this morning and missed a bit of time and had a little crash, which was my fault, but the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R has performed better every time I’ve been out. We’ve taken some good steps in the right direction and hopefully we’ll continue to do more tomorrow. I’m reasonably happy with where we are and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

More, from a press release issued by Pirelli:


Phillip Island kicks off the production based Championship this year with new features contributed by Pirelli; such as the Superbike EVO and new qualifying format

Phillip Island (Australia), February 17, 2013 – Pirelli returns to Australia for the first round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship that will take place at Phillip Island, a small island 150 kilometers south of Melbourne.

A little over a year ago, in December 2012, the track underwent an extensive "facelift" which involved the first resurfacing of the track in 14 years. Although Pirelli has already tested the new asphalt last year without particular difficulties, this will still be a factor to be reckoned with.

The first event for the riders, however, is that of the official tests at the beginning of the season on the Monday and Tuesday before the races on Sunday 23 February.

Two of the most important innovations for the season at hand: the introduction of the subclass Superbike EVO in the premier class of the Championship; and the new format of the free practices timed for qualifying and Superpole.

As previously announced, during the season Pirelli will offer support to maintain the competitiveness of the Championship by providing some races with a differentiated supply of tires between Superbike and Superbike EVO.

Phillip Island VS tires: the challenging “Southern Loop”

A peculiarity of the Philip Island track is the famous “Southern Loop”, the longest corner on any circuit in the eni FIM World Superbike Championship. Besides being the longest, this turn also has a medium-side radius which allows the riders to navigate it at full throttle, with a fixed lean angle for a sustained period of time.

The tire is forced to work for a long time with mechanical stress focused on a small strip of tread in precisely the area of continuous use. This causes a rapid rise in local temperature which causes a loss of grip on the asphalt which in turn, (due to the friction of the tire against the road surface) causes a further increase in temperature due to friction and a large amount of tire material is removed. Therefore there is an exponential and uncontrolled rise in temperature capable of generating a thermal breakdown of the compound (commonly known as blistering).

So the particular characteristic of the Phillip Island track is that it simultaneously generates mechanical and thermal stress to which the tires are constantly subjected. The track also has various fast turns, which have an intense impact on the front tire due to the new surface.

Pirelli’s solutions for Superbike and Supersport classes:

Given the characteristics of the circuit, for the first round of the Championship Pirelli brings both the Superbike and the Supersport classes some range solutions which are flanked by development solutions designed specifically for Australia. A total of 5626 tires have been brought by Pirelli for the two classes for tests and the race weekend.

Both in Superbike and Supersport the goal of the test is to compare rear solutions with two different profiles.

Therefore for today and tomorrow’s tests, the Superbike class will have two rear medium-soft development solutions, the S1633 and the S1635, which are distinguished by having two different profiles. The S1633 is based on the reference solution from Phillip Island 2013, designed with different inner structure and materials to maintain the operating temperature when particularly cold; while the S1635 has a rather different profile designed to distribute the stresses and pressures and thus offer an improved footprint.

At the front slicks chosen by Pirelli to test include two SC2, the standard one and the R753 already brought last year at Phillip Island, Monza, Portimão, Imola, Moscow and Istanbul.

As for the Supersport class, at the rear Pirelli brings the standard SC1, alongside the S1660, a medium-soft development solution adopting the profile used in 2013 races in Istanbul and Jerez de la Frontera; with Standard SC1 and SC2 for the front.

Based on the results of the test, teams will then be in a position during the race weekend to guide their choices on different solutions that among them are distinguished by the hardness of the compound while adopting one of the two profiles seen in testing.

Giorgio Barbier’s memory: the year was...2001

"It was 2001, the year in which Pirelli returned to compete in the World Superbike Championship after an absence of 9 years" said Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto Racing Director "Before the season, the first step was to look for a good rider for our return, at the suggestion of the Ducati choice fell on the young Steve Martin, a very promising Australian rider and winner of the Australian Superbike Championship in 1999. That year the Championship started in March in Valencia, before heading to South Africa at the end of the month and in Australia, at Phillip Island, where he rode in the round held on Sunday April 22. The weather was bad, I remember perfectly well that the tunnel leading to the paddock was completely flooded and to go out of the circuit it was necessary to open the gates at the bottom of the straight passing with trucks on a completely sodden grass, with all the difficulties that this entailed. For this same reason that day only Race 1 was raced, as Race 2 was cancelled due to the abundant rain. Steve Martin, who ran with the number 99 on the Ducati 996 RS of the DFX Racing team, started from 12th place on the grid. It was an exciting competition raced in the rain: during the first lap Steve was already in fourth position for the first two laps and looked like he could reach the top 3 riders. Lap after lap he began to lose ground due to a malfunction of the Ducati which began to run on one cylinder and Steve finished the race in the same position from which he started.

The result was not a just reward for him but for a few laps he allowed us a beautiful dream in this first year of our return to this production based series. Now every weekend Steve introduces us to the excitement of Superbike from his commentary booth! "

The 2013 Pirelli statistics for Phillip Island:

• Total number of tires Pirelli brought: 3580

• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 6 front and 7 rear

• Number of solutions for the Supersport class (dry, intermediate and wet): 4 front and 6 rear

• Number of tires available for each Superbike rider: 36 front and 38 rear

• Number of tires available for each Supersport rider: 24 front and 33 rear

• Superbike Best Lap Awards won by: Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma), 1'31.323 (Race 1, 7th lap) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), 1'31.168 (Race 2, 20th lap)

• Supersport Best Lap Awards won by: Kenan Sofuoglu (MAHI Racing Team India), 1'33.283 (15thlap)

• Temperature in Race 1: air 27° C, asphalt 47° C

• Temperature in Race 2: air 26° C, asphalt 48° C

• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli tires: 320,5 km/h, Michel Fabrizio in Race 1, 3rd lap


Founded in 1872, Pirelli is the fifth largest tire manufacturer in the world in terms of sales. Present in over 160 countries, Pirelli has 22 manufacturing sites and over 36,000 employees worldwide. Pirelli is a leading producer of premium tires due to its commitment to R&D. Successfully competing in motorsport since 1907, Pirelli is the exclusive supplier of the Superbike world championship, many single marque championships around the world, and above all it has been the sole supplier for the Formula 1 championship since 2011.

Pirelli Tire North America (PTNA) services NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) member countries through its Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) facility and research and development center at its Rome, Georgia headquarters, its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Silao, Mexico and its New York City, Montreal and Mexico City sales and marketing offices. The company manufactures, distributes and markets original equipment and replacement tires for export and domestic car/motorcycle applications (US, CA, MX) and Agro/Heavy Truck platforms (MX).