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Feb 18, 2014

Sykes Near Lap Record As World Superbike Testing Ends At Phillip Island (Updated)

Tom Sykes (1) riding his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R at Phillip Island.

FIM Superbike World Championship Test

Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

February 18, 2014

Combined Test Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Tom Sykes, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:30.239

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

3. Alex Lowes, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:30.528

4. Marco Melandri, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:30.579

5. Davide Giugliano, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:30.644

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

7. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:30.766

8. Leon Haslam, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:30.798

9. Jonathan Rea, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:30.813

10. Chaz Davies, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:31.087

11. Niccolo Canepa, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:31.373, EVO

12. Toni Elias, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:31.441

13. David Salom, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.008, EVO

14. Fabien Foret, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.780, EVO

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

16. Sheridan Morais, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.895, EVO

17. Jeremy Guarnoni, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.897, EVO, crash

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

19. Alessandro Andreozzi, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:33.205, EVO

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

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

22. Imre Toth, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 1:34.750

23. Geoff May, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:34.807

24. Aaron Yates, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:36.662

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


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

Sykes on record pace as final pre-season test comes to an end

Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 18 February 2014 - The official eni FIM Superbike World Championship test at Phillip Island concluded this afternoon with Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) fastest in the fourth and final session. The Irishman was not however the fastest overall as none of the top 15 riders did not improve during the last two hours on track. After combining all four sessions it was reigning Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who came out on top thanks to his super-fast lap set this morning (1'30.239, just 5 thousands shy of Checa's current outright circuit best lap). His test was not without incident as his ZX-10R suffered a technical problem at the very end of the final session approaching Turn 1.

Tom Sykes: “I am happy with the results of these two days of testing at Phillip Island. In the last couple of days we have done a lot of laps to confirm the remaining test items, so to be fastest and be one of the most consistent riders, I have to be very happy with that. Phillip Island has never been our main event, so to speak, so to be up there already is very good. I know the conditions have caught a lot of people out but I know we can now go to the race weekend with more of a clear understanding of what to do. Now we will turn our focus more on performance, pure performance, over the race weekend. I will go away now and have a couple of days winding down and relaxing and come back on Friday morning ready to go again.”


Laverty was classified second fractionally ahead of team mate and rookie sensation Alex Lowes. The 23 year old Lincolnshire born rider, who rode for the first time at Phillip Island only yesterday, dropped 1.1 seconds off his session 1 best, which was an already impressive lap time. Italians Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) were fourth and fifth respectively, just ahead of Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), who suffered two crashes during the test. The Frenchman was uninjured in both occasions.

Race 1 winner last year Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) showed no signs of discomfort from the injured shoulder that was surgically repaired twice during the off-season, finishing 7th and completing 92 laps during the two days. Pata Honda duo Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea both suffered a late test crash leaving them eighth and ninth, but they are taking to the first round some positives after closing to within half a second of the fastest time.

The EVO category saw Althea Racing's Niccolò Canepa riding his Ducati 1199 Panigale to an encouraging 11th overall. The former STK1000 Champion mixed it with some of the WSBK-spec machines to end the test on a high note.

Michel Fabrizio (Iron Brain Kawasaki SBK), who fell yesterday, is being kept at the hospital as a precaution despite x-rays revealing no signs of injury. Reigning STK1000 Champion Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team) was diagnosed with a micro fracture in his pelvis and he’s unlikely to take part in the opening round of the season. Young Frenchman and WSBK rookie Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) ended the combined tests in 17th but suffered a fall at Turn 2 in the first 20 minutes of the final session, resulting in a left AC joint subluxation. No good news for Luca Scassa (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) as x-rays revealed a fractured pelvis, which rules him out of the race weekend.



More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

The Ducati Superbike Team concludes two days of official testing at Phillip Island

  • Fifth fastest time for Davide Giugliano and the 1199 Panigale
  • The factory squad takes advantage of this final chance to prepare for the coming weekend’s opening championship round

Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 18 February 2014The Ducati Superbike Team completed two days of official testing at the Phillip Island circuit today, with riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano lining up alongside all of the other Superbike teams for the first time this season.

The Ducati Superbike Team took advantage of the warm and sunny conditions (average air temperature 24°C, track 42°C) during these official testing sessions at the Island, which provided all teams with a final opportunity to test before the first round of the 2014 championship kicks off this coming weekend at the same track.

Yesterday morning, factory riders Davies and Giugliano quickly settled down to work with their technicians, beginning to set up their 1199 Panigale machines for the Australian circuit. The team worked solidly during the day’s two sessions and, by the end of day one, Giugliano had recorded the second fastest overall time (1’30.7), with Davies recording a best of 1’31.4 to close day one in tenth position.

During today’s sessions, the Ducati Superbike men continued to progress in the right direction, further improving lap times and feeling with the bike. Throughout the day, work focused primarily on the testing of new parts brought to this event, including engine and electronic components. Giugliano made a series of laps in under 1’31, setting a best of 1’30.644, recorded towards the end of the morning’s session, which put him in overall fifth position. Davies also improved on yesterday’s times; his best of the day was a 1’31.087, a lap time also recorded in today’s first session and which placed him tenth.

The team will be back at the same Phillip Island track on Friday for the opening sessions of Round 1 of the 2014 World Superbike Championship.

Quotes at the end of testing:

Davide Giugliano - Ducati Superbike Team #34

“I’m really pleased with the results. We’ve been working a lot on the set-up of my bike and on the feeling I have with it and everything we’ve done so far has brought positive results. We’ve been fairly fast in each session and then the long-run that we made in the final session provided us with some useful data. We’ll try to continue working in the same direction, because it’s important to maintain focus and perform over the race weekend, not only during testing of course. Ducati has brought a series of small things to test, which all combined have made a difference and so the bike is improving step by step and this is really encouraging.”

Chaz Davies - Ducati Superbike Team #7

“I feel that we’re working well so far and I’d say that we’re definitely moving in the right direction. During the sessions, we’ve tried a couple of different electronic strategies, and a couple of new engine development parts and everything seems to be fairly positive, so far so good. There are areas in which I still want to improve but we still have time during Friday and Saturday’s sessions of course. Lap times have been very close during these tests so I think we’re in for some exciting racing come Sunday.”

Ernesto Marinelli - Ducati Superbike Project Director

“These two days of testing were very intense even though the track time only amounted to 4 hours each day. Over the winter period, we have completed a lot of work in Bologna and we’ve come to Australia with many things to test both in terms of the engine and the electronics. The results obtained have been positive and both Chaz and Davide have tested all of the development parts. Both riders have shown that they are happy with the base identified over the two days and this is very important ahead of the first race weekend. All of our references from last year with the race tyre have been improved upon here and this reassures us that the direction we are taking is the right one. The gap is relatively small but we must continue to work hard to reduce it.”



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

Champion Sykes Leads The SBK Field Into The First Race Of 2014

Newsflash, 18 February 2014

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) left the final official test session of the pre-season as fastest rider of all, with his team-mate Loris Baz and KRT Evo rider David Salom also setting good lap times.

Sykes, who will be out to defend his champion status, set a 1’30.239 on Tuesday morning, which was very close to the circuit best lap, and proved to be the fastest lap of the tests.

Two days of warm and dry track conditions allowed the official Kawasaki team to get down to work in an organised fashion but there were several red flag incidents across the four sessions and two days of testing, losing all the competitors useful track time.

Baz had two falls in these tests but recovered well from each to go sixth overall, and stay close to his team-mate Sykes in terms of lap times. Loris still has some final set-up decisions to make with his team when practice starts on Friday 21st February, to make sure he faces two races on Sunday 23rd in the best possible way.

The official Kawasaki Racing Team SBK Evo machine, under the confident control of David Salom, was the second fastest Evo bike on show in the Phillip Island official tests, and 13th overall in the combined rankings.

The two Superbike races will get underway on Sunday 23rd, with all KRT riders eager to take on the challenge in what is expected to be a closely fought season. There are no less than eight manufacturers represented on the 2014 grid at the first flyaway round.

Tom Sykes: “I am happy with the results of these two days of testing at Phillip Island. In the last couple of days we have done a lot of laps to confirm the remaining test items, so to be fastest and be one of the most consistent riders as well, I have to be very happy with that. Phillip Island has never been our main event, so to speak, so to be up there for pace already is very good. I know the conditions have caught a lot of people out already but I know we can now go to the race weekend with more of a clear understanding of what to do. Now we will turn our focus more on performance, pure performance, over the race weekend. I will go away and have a couple of days winding down and relaxing and come back on Friday morning ready to go again.”

Loris Baz: “Not too bad overall even though I had two falls. I lost the front today on a new setting and missed most of the session. I lost a bit of feeling at that time but I was fifth in the second session this afternoon and the lap times are really close. We have some good information and we know what we can do for the race. We will also have a wider choice of tyres for the race which should help us.”

David Salom: “Things went well and it was a little too hot in the afternoon to improve the lap time again. But in all the sessions we have worked well and the team has improved many aspects of our set-up. We have done a very good job so far. We need some more work on Friday to make the bike a bit better again. We tried front fork setting changes, rear suspension changes, so we know we can still find improvements. I am ready to go into race weekend now.”

Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes’ Crew Chief: “We had a good two days of work and I am happy how it went. This is not our preferred track but we are one of the fastest and most consistent, so we have to be pleased with that. We are ready to race and made all our final confirmations in these tests.”

Pere Riba, Loris Baz’s Crew Chief: “On the first day Loris was very fast straightaway, for pure pace and for rhythm. We found some wear on the tyres so we had to concentrate to help the tyre life. We made some changes to the bike to help the rear but then Loris lost the front. This final afternoon was OK, but we have to keep working. The lap time is there and his pace is not so bad, so I am confident and happy for the weekend and we will keep working hard.

Toni Alfosea, David Salom’s Crew Chief: “Our tests were good and although we were not the fastest Evo bike so far, we were second fastest. We worked very well and have been setting consistently good lap times. I think we have a very good set-up already and a strong base to start official practice with. David has really started to understand what is a good style of riding for this kind of bike after riding a smaller bike last year.”



More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Testing ends positively for the Althea Racing team at Phillip Island

Canepa confirms his position as the leading Evo rider

The two-day testing session at Phillip Island in Australia has concluded positively for the Althea Racing team and proved useful in preparation for the opening round of the Superbike World championship, in which the Althea team will participate with rider Niccolò Canepa, in the new Evo category.

In the first session this morning, Canepa (1’31”373) improved by half a second on his already impressive time set yesterday, positioning himself eleventh in the standings. In the afternoon both rider and team focused more on refining the 1199 Panigale and testing some new solutions and components.

The two days were intense and allowed Genesio Bevilacqua’s team to best prepare for the first round of the 2014 Evo championship, which will get underway on Friday on the Australian track.

Niccolò Canepa: “Today again went very well. I made further improvement and confirmed my position as the quickest of the Evo riders, but above all we were able to try many different solutions which gave us data that will prove very useful both this coming weekend and throughout the season. I recorded my best time this afternoon with a tyre that I’d already used for more than twenty laps and this bodes well for Sunday’s races. We’re working well and are constantly reducing the gap that separates us from the fastest riders. We’ve found a good base and so I’m optimistic for the first two races of the season. I would like to thank my team for having done such a great job.”

Genesio Bevilacqua: “We have made the most of these two test days during which my team has completed a great deal of work. We have kept an eye on the stopwatch but especially today we were not focusing on lap times but on performance over distance. Canepa has worked hard and well, making himself available to the team and providing indications that were key in order to identify a good set up. Even though we didn’t test over the winter, we have tested everything we needed to over these two days and the lap times demonstrate this as they have dropped continuously. Both team and rider are working well together and the 1199 Panigale is improving significantly. At this point our aim is to head the Evo class and get into the top ten.”




More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda Racing Team:

The Pata Honda World Superbike and World Supersport teams have finished pre-season testing in preparation for this weekend’s first-round championship races at Phillip Island in Australia.

The World Superbike pairing of Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea today completed their final pre-season test after two days lapping their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines around the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit in warm and dry conditions – certainly more favourable than their last two tests in Europe.

In spite of a crash which prevented his participation in most of this afternoon's final test session, Haslam finished the Phillip Island test with the eighth-fastest time. Rea was less than two hundredths of a second behind his team-mate as both continued the development of a revised electronics system and new components.

Pata Honda’s Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti have also been testing at Phillip Island, refining their Honda CBR600RRs in readiness for their second seasons in the World Supersport category.

Dutch ace van der Mark ended the test with the third-fastest time, less than half a second behind three-time World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu, while his Italian team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti was tenth fastest.

The season proper begins for Pata Honda at Phillip Island this Friday, 21 February with the first World Supersport free practice session opening at 10.00 local time. The World Superbike riders will take to the track at 11.45 in a revised event format, which sees the first three practice sessions timed for Saturday's Superpole.

The 10 fastest riders will qualify automatically for Superpole 2, while those with the 11th to 20th fastest times will also contest Superpole 1 - the two fastest from that session moving into Superpole 2 to determine final grid positions.

The Pata Honda team has produced a short preview for this weekend's opening round of the 2014 World Superbike championship at Phillip Island, featuring interviews with Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and team manager Ronald ten Kate. The video can be viewed by clicking on the following link:

Leon Haslam - Test lap time: 1m30.798s

It's been a good two days here after a tough pre-season with bad weather and new components. Since we got here though, everything has been running smoothly and we've been making good progress and taking the correct steps. We did some race runs on the first day yesterday and the time I did this morning was on an old tyre. This afternoon I had a big high-side on my first flying lap and missed the whole session. I'm pretty happy that my left leg stayed in one piece, but my backside is pretty sore! The temperature got up this afternoon and no-one was able to go any faster, so I think we can go into the weekend on a positive note.

Jonathan Rea - Test lap time: 1m30.813s

It's clear that we're starting the season in much better shape than last year but it's so, SO competitive. It's actually quite exciting! There are a few guys who've got a bit more ultimate pace than me, but Phillip Island is a race where you really have to work for the full 22 laps. Today, we focused more on that and, to be honest, we still have some work to do - quite a lot with the chassis to find a good balance for the circuit which demands a unique style of riding compared to European circuits. I also need to sort the final sector because until that point on the track I'm quite competitive. But with everything so close, I can't afford to give away three tenths in one sector. We'll take a good look at that and see what's what. The weekend should be quite exciting because nobody is head and shoulders above anyone else - i t's very tight at the top!

Michael van der Mark - Test lap time: 1m33.918s

I'm quite happy, and compared to last year, we have made some great steps with winter testing. I am really happy with the bike, it's easy to ride and I think we can find some improvements for the race weekend. If we can have the race at full distance on the new Pirelli tyre I think we will have a good pace. Compared to my first visit last year to Phillip Island, it took only three or four laps to find the marks on the track and I'm really happy to be with the same team and on the CBR600RR like last year. It makes everything much easier. With the steps we have made I want to be fighting for race wins and even the championship this year. It's going to be difficult - especially with Kenan [Sofuoglu] - and, after the test, we can see some other guys are fast, too. But I'm normally quite good over race distance and, if we can cl ose the gap to Kenan, I think we can fight for the win.

Lorenzo Zanetti - Test lap time: 1m34.591s

This morning at the test was not too bad and already I got to the same fastest lap time as I had last year. I think we were going in a good way but we had the same problem with the tyre over longer distances as other riders. I tried to do a race simulation with the new Pirelli tyre this afternoon but I was stopped by a red flag. When I restarted, I had a problem with the bike which I thought at first was the new tyre but it wasn't, so we are trying to find out what it was. I had a little crash, so the guys are rebuilding the bike, but I am looking forward to the weekend.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager

We've done a lot of work this winter and now we've completed the last test before the season starts. We have made a huge effort with the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, especially on electronics control. Now we've tested against all the other teams and we're pretty satisfied. We're very happy with Leon's performance here - he's done a good job and matched Jonathan's times and he's also very close to the front runners, so that's really positive. It took us a little longer to figure things out and find the right balance for Jonathan, but he has also made some good progress here and the times are really close. With Supersport, our winter has been about fine-tuning things like electronics and suspension. Michael is looking strong and Lorenzo is in touch with the front runners, so we're looking forward to the racing.



More, from a press release issued by Voltcom Crescent Suzuki:

Laverty and Lowes rise to the challenge on day-two at Phillip Island

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki concluded the two-day eni FIM Superbike World Championship official test at Phillip Island with both riders in the top three overall after Alex Lowes claimed second place in the final day’s timings.

Lowes looked determined from the outset of this morning’s first session and continued to improve steadily on yesterday’s performance, setting a time of 1’30.5 to match his team-mate’s best from the previous day. Laverty’s consistently strong form continued throughout the two-day test. The only rider to break the 1’31 barrier in the final afternoon session, the Irishman’s top times fluctuated by less than five-tenths-of-a-second across each of the four sessions.

Despite the rising 28°C temperatures creating slippery conditions on track, Laverty continued to dominate in the closing stages. Setting three 1’30.8 lap times in the last 15 minutes of action to claim the top-spot in the final session, his fastest time from Monday morning was still strong enough to retain second overall in the combined standings on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki used the final pre-season test to concentrate on a number of key refinements ahead of the first weekend of competition at the Australian track. Working to develop a balance between rear grip and tyre life - both so important at Phillip Island – the team also looked to improve the Suzuki GSX-R’s natural turning, necessary for the circuit’s numerous fast corners. Refinement of the electronic control strategies to improve power delivery further assisted with rear grip, while Öhlins continued their assistance to the team by trialling new front fork components. The day’s final session provided the opportunity for the squad to run the first of its sealed race engines for the season, allowing them to bed in ahead of Friday morning’s first timed qualifying session.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will now debrief and prepare for the opening round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship on 23rd of February, with both Lowes and Laverty coming to form in readiness for this year’s inaugural races.

Eugene Laverty:

“Good day today, good test in all. We’ve been trying a lot of things and probably the biggest step we made was right at the end. In the last fifteen minutes we made a big improvement with the rear settings so I’m really happy to finish the test on a high and to make good lap-times in the high temperatures. We have some detailed stuff to try over the race weekend but in general I’m very happy to be riding the Suzuki and we’ll keep pushing hard to improve further.”

Alex Lowes:

“The test has been good. I’m happy to be in the top-three overall over the two-days. I’ve worked really hard, I was consistent this afternoon, we had a few issues but it would be impossible not to be happy really. I don’t think many people expected me to be this close already and with a couple of days to reflect we should be in a stronger position for the weekend. I’m loving riding the GSX-R, it’s a bike you can really push and it seems to be a bit like me – the harder it’s worked the better it goes! Thanks to everyone on the team, we have a great atmosphere and I’m enjoying myself.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“The whole Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team has been working tirelessly since the last race of 2013 and now it’s nearly time to begin the 2014 season. The last two days have given us the opportunity to assess where we are against the competition and to refine some of the new developments on this year’s GSX-R. There is always a lot to try, many things that could potentially be better but I couldn’t be happier with the riders and the team – we are making progress together and improving step by step. The competition is fierce and the level is very high, but I hope we can be part of the game come Sunday.”



More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:

FINAL TWO DAYS OF TESTING AT PHILLIP ISLAND FOR THE WORLD SBK CHAMPION APRILIA BEFORE THE OFFICIAL START OF THE 2014 SEASON.

MARCO MELANDRI WAS FINALLY ABLE TO WORK WITH FAVOURABLE WEATHER CONDITIONS AND IS READY FOR BATTLE.

LOTS OF LAPS WITHOUT ANY PHYSICAL ISSUE FOR SYLVAIN GUINTOLI, CONFIDENT THAT THE PROBLEM WITH HIS RIGHT SHOULDER HAS NOW BEEN RESOLVED.

Phillip Island (Australia), 18 February 2014 There are only a few days left before the start of Superbike 2014 which will open hostilities this weekend at Phillip Island where riders and teams have already been busy for two days of testing.

For Aprilia Racing - the Italian Reigning Manufacturer World Champion and winner of 5 world titles in 4 seasons - this was the first opportunity to lap in good climatic conditions after the negative impact the weather had on the winter sessions at Portimao and Jerez. So some intense work was done without any hindrances in order to be as ready as possible when the lights turn green for the first time this season.

For Marco Melandri, in his first year astride the Aprilia RSV4, these two days can be considered positive in no uncertain terms. The rider from Ravenna, in addition to finishing the tests with the fourth best time, put in 123 laps to complete a testing schedule aimed at “moulding” the powerful Italian superbike to his needs. Consistently fast, Marco focused primarily on finding his best race pace, trying to optimise the long distance setup. In fact, tyre wear is an incredibly important factor on the fast and demanding Australian track. Being consistent throughout the entire race will therefore be a must. Despite the good times he put in, Melandri knows that there is still room for improvement and he'll be working with his team on that from the first test sessions on Friday.

Marco Melandri: “We were finally able to lap in good weather! I'm pleased because we completed the scheduled programme, gathering a lot of information from the test sessions. Now we just have to put the pieces of the puzzle together in order to find the best place to start for the weekend. I think I have a good race pace. There are still a few spots on the track that give me problems but I'm confident that we'll be able to improve. I need to focus on the fast lap for the qualifiers because starting from at least the front two rows will be very important. I definitely can't wait to finally get back to serious business”.

The unknown factor for Sylvain Guintoli was without a doubt his physical condition after the double surgery on his right shoulder. From this point of view the 92 laps the French rider put in confirm that his recovery is complete. Sylvain was also positive about these tests in terms of performance. The pace he demonstrated even in poor grip conditions places him among the potential key players for the first round of the season. Guintoli's feeling with the bike are similar to those last year when he took a win and a second place on his maiden race astride the Aprilia RSV4 which placed him at the top of the rider standings.

Sylvain Guintoli: “The most important thing is that I am feeling much better physically. The previous tests at Jerez went well too, but after the crash there and when I got back home my shoulder was hurting for a few days. Here, on the other hand, I took a lot of laps over these two days, doing the tests that we had planned and even putting in some decent times. In the afternoon, in similar conditions to what we'll probably have for the races, my RSV4 performed very well both in terms of general settings and tyre wear management. I'm confident and, just like last year, I'm ready for battle”.



More, from a press release issued by Michael Hill Promotions on behalf of Team HERO EBR:

Team Hero EBR Makes World Superbike Debut In Official Pre-Season Test

Team Hero EBR arrived at the picturesque setting of Phillip Island, Australia, (with no prior testing before their World Championship debut), and as such were hoping to make the most of the official two day test ahead of the 2014 opening round, also held at Phillip Island this coming weekend.

Our riders Geoff May and Aaron Yates arrived down under with the added obstacle of never having ridden at the Australian, let alone the all new EBR 1190 RX.

Teething problems were of course to be expected, and after completing a total of 41 laps in the opening session, the number 20 and 99 EBR 1190 RX machines took no further part in Monday’s on track activity.

With the sun shining brightly this morning, and with the team having worked hard to find and resolve the small technical glitches everyone was relieved and satisfied with the outcome at the conclusion of today’s final four hour test.

Geoff and Aaron both significantly improved throughout the day as both man and machine adapted to the undulating circuit, located a couple of hours from Melbourne.

In the final session Geoff suffered a small crash but was able to make it back to the pits. Both riders then re-joined the circuit to complete another handful of laps before the chequered flag was waved.

With two days before official practice to evaluate the data gathered, Team Hero EBR is optimistic of a respectable result from their debut races within the World Superbike championship on Sunday.

Giulio Bardi – Team Hero EBR Team Manager: “This is the first time that the bikes have turned a wheel on track. We had teething problems and we expected this but this is what testing is all about. Overall we are happy as we rectified the small problem that we had and both riders were able to improve. I am confident that we will continue to improve throughout Friday’s official practices and again by the time qualifying comes. We are looking forward to the opening races on Sunday and will do our best to achieve the best results that we can at this early stage in the season.”

Round 1 of the 2014 World Superbike championship gets underway proper with the first Free Practice session on Friday.

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