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Feb 19, 2013

Sam Lowes Sets The Pace During World Supersport Testing At Phillip Island

Sam Lowes (11).
Mondiale Supersport - Superb lap for Sam Lowes in official testing Day 2

Despite the temperature fall and the cloudy skies above the circuit, Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) was able to drop 0.443 seconds off his Day 1 best lap time to top the timesheets at the end of the morning session.

The rider from Lincoln has put a 0.181 gap between himself and second placed Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), with Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda), Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) to follow.

The session was red flagged with 30 minutes to go due to technical problems occurred to Sheridan Morais’ PTR Honda CBR600RR, and after the restart a quick rain shower passed through. The surface dried up quickly thanks to the brand-new asphalt, allowing the riders to spent the last 10 minutes on track.

Lowes was able to further improve his best lap-time up to a remarkable 1’33.076 - almost 8 tenths of a second quicker than the best lap - that helped him finish as fastest of the whole test for the Supersport class. Mahi Racing Team India placed Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, not far time-wise from the leader despite a technical problem for the Frenchman towards the end.

Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) was able to climb up to 4th place at his last attempt before the chequered flag was waved. The Dutch rider finished ahead of David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), Hungarian Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda) and Russian Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha).

Austria’s David Linortner (Team Honda PTR) crashed out of turn 12 halfway through the afternoon session, while Eduard Blokhin (Rivamoto Honda) fell off his CBR600RR with 12 minutes to go before the end of the test.

Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1'33.076 average 171.924 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'33.384; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'33.614; 4. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'33.874; 5. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'33.950; 6. Talmacsi (Honda) 1'34.048; 7. Leonov (Yamaha) 1'34.140; 8. Menghi (Yamaha) 1'34.258; 9. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1'34.375; 10. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'34.428; etc.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sofuoglu And Foret Fast In Official Test Sessions

Newsflash, 19 February 2013

Mahi Racing Team India riders Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret each pushed their way to near the top on the final pre-season tests in Australia, with Sofuoglu close to the quickest and Foret third

Reigning World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu posted second best time in the final day of official pre-race tests, after setting 116 laps in total. His fastest lap of 1’33.384 seconds was well under the existing lap record, which bodes well for the race on Sunday 24th February.

Third fastest rider on show, in a field of 35 competitors, was Fabien Foret, Kenan’s team-mate, who found a strong set-up late in the tests and made good use of it. The resurfaced Phillip Island race circuit took some getting used to for all riders, as it is much smoother than the previous surface.

A positive performance from Kawasaki riders in general put the Kawasaki Intermoto PonyExpres riders into the top ten in the combined two-day times, with David Salom securing fifth spot and his team-mate Luca Scassa going tenth.

Vladimir Ivanov, from the DMC–Lorenzini team, was impressed by the speed and usability of his new bike on his return to Supersport racing, and he was 13th.

All The Kawasaki WSS and SBK riders now prepare for the first race of the season, on Sunday 24th February.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “Things look quite good, we have a very fast race pace and I did not see any other riders who are better than this for many laps. Every session we are improving the bike and we have had some tyre issues but we kept working and this afternoon I did a 20-lap run and I am very confident that the bike is ready. We have some small things to fix still but we have two days to improve. I am happy with this test because we have a new team and every time out we improve the bike and improve the team. I am more and more happy with the team.”

Fabien Foret: “We are two and three on the time sheets for our new team and I feel not so bad on the bike now. We took some decisions in set-up and they were the right ones. I enjoyed my bike at the end of the session and I pushed a little bit, but always under control. The race is on Sunday and I think we have a good pace to start the race weekend. It is going to be tough tyre-wise in the heat but it is the same situation for everyone.”

David Salom: “I am pleased with the job the team is doing. I am very happy with the suspension but we need a little bit more power. We have a fresh engine for Friday so it should be faster. We used a soft tyre in a long run, we did 21-laps and the times were good. I did not get the chance to put in a new soft tyre and go for a fast lap time. I think maybe I can improve by around five or six tenths.”

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda:

Van der Mark impresses for Pata Honda

The Pata Honda team has concluded its winter test programme ahead of this weekend’s (22-24 February) opening round of the 2013 World Supersport championship at Phillip Island in Australia.

Michael van der Mark, who debuts in the championship this season after winning last season’s European Superstock 600 series on the Ten Kate Honda Junior Team's CBR600RR, continued his impressive pre-season form by setting the fourth fastest time overall in an official two-day test which ended this afternoon.

His new team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti, also a World Supersport rookie for 2013, continues his adaptation from last season in World Superbikes, but made a positive step today, shaving one second off his previous best time at the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit.

The Pata Honda duo will now line up for the coming weekend with the aim of finding a suitable set-up that will allow their tyres to perform for Sunday’s 21-lap race.

Michael van der Mark

I’m really happy after this test and looking forward to the weekend. We’ve worked hard on the race set-up today and did two complete race simulations and we found a good pace. More importantly we found a good solution to keep the tyre working at the end of the race. OK, it was still destroyed but the times were quite good. In the last 15 minutes today we tried to do a qualifying lap and managed a good time. I’m happy with fourth place and we will try to maintain this performance through the first round.

Lorenzo Zanetti

I’d like to thank the whole team for the step forward we made today. We have tried many things during the winter testing but I have found it a little bit hard to adapt to the CBR600RR after riding bigger bikes for the last few years. The team made a great job today which allowed me to make this step and now the gap to the front is smaller. We changed the bike, my riding style and I am much more comfortable. I think we can make some more steps during the two days of practice this weekend and I will aim for a good result in the race.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

We are quite happy with the results of our tests here at Phillip Island. Michael did a great job to finish fourth fastest, but he has shown a lot of potential throughout our testing. Today, he showed this even more and we have great expectations for him to finish strongly in the first race. On the final afternoon of the final day’s testing, we made quite a big step with Lorenzo. The time has improved by almost a second from this morning because his feeling and confidence have improved through some general changes we made. His times are consistent, too, so we go into the race weekend happy and with a good feeling.

Official 2013 World Supersport championship test

Phillip Island, Australia, 18-19 February – overall times

1. Sam Lowes (GBR) Yamaha 1m33.076s

2. Kenan Sofuogly (TUR) Kawasaki 1m33.384s

3. Fabien Foret (FRA) Kawasaki 1m33.614s

4. Michael van der Mark (NED) Pata Honda 1m33.874s

5. David Salom (ESP) Kawasaki 1m33.950s

6. Gabor Talmasci (HUN) Honda 1m34.048s

16. Lorenzo Zanetti (ITA) Pata Honda 1m34.870s