World Superbike: Jonathan Rea On Top As Phillip Island Test Ends (Updated)

World Superbike: Jonathan Rea On Top As Phillip Island Test Ends (Updated)

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

All-Time Superbike Lap Record: 1:29.413, Jonathan Rea, 2019

Superbike Race Lap Record: 1:30.848, Marco Melandri, 2018

FIM Superbike World Championship

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

February 25, 2020

Day Two Test Results (all on Pirelli tires):

  1. Jonathan Rea, UK (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:30.523
  2. Loris Baz, France (Yam YZF-R1), 1:30.758
  3. Leon Haslam, UK (Hon CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP), 1:30.882
  4. Scott Redding, UK (Duc Panigale V4 R), 1:30.885
  5. Tom Sykes, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:30.995
  6. Michael van der Mark, Netherlands (Yam YZF-R1), 1:31.087
  7. Toprak Razgatlioglu, Turkey (Yam YZF-R1), 1:31.299
  8. Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Italy (Duc Panigale V4 R), 1:31.407
  9. Sandro Cortese, Germany (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:31.565
  10. Xavi Fores, Spain (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:31.653
  11. Eugene Laverty, Ireland (BMW S1000RR), 1:31.670
  12. Maximilian Scheib, Chile (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:31.810
  13. Chaz Davies, UK (Duc Panigale V4 R), 1:31.837
  14. Alex Lowes, UK (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:31.863
  15. Garrett Gerloff, USA (Yam YZF-R1), 1:31.941
  16. Federico Caricasulo, Italy (Yam YZF-R1), 1:31.981
  17. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Hon CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP), 1:32.005
  18. Leon Camier, UK (Duc Panigale V4 R), 1:32.764
  19. Takumi Takahashi, Japan (Hon CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP), 1:36.314

 

 

 

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

Rea edges Baz as Phillip Island Official Test ends with a flurry

The Northern Irishman fought back and heads the way, whilst the top 17 riders are covered by just 1.5 seconds

The final pre-season test for the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has been completed with the action too close to call ahead of the first round of the season. The spectacular Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit brought in wet weather at stages, whilst numerous crashes and red flags occurred, including offs for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC). Despite the crash, it was Rea who pipped Independent sensation Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) to the top ahead of the first round.

Loris Baz (76). Photo courtesy of Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.
Loris Baz (76). Photo courtesy of Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.

Leading the way into the weekend, Jonathan Rea moved into top position and put in a strong lap time of 1’30.448, coming in the morning session. The Ulsterman used today for long runs, showcasing his ability to work well and return to first place. However, his day wasn’t without incident and was one of a handful of riders who crashed at Turn 4. He was OK and the bike was virtually undamaged. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) continued his switch to the KRT squad but was down in 12th and suffered a crash at Turn 6 in the morning, giving him plenty of work ahead of the racing weekend.

Flying the flag for the Independent teams once again was Loris Baz as the Frenchman continued to be quick in the pre-season tests and finished second. What is impressive for Baz is that he hasn’t used the 2020 engine yet, so his pace is done purely on the 2019 engine; he expects a big step forward come Friday and his race pace is already looking strong. Other Independent revelations inside the top ten included Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) in eighth.

2013 WorldSBK Champion Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) led the BMW charge as he continued to shine at the sharp end. Having struggled with rear grip in the 2019 races, Sykes can now run comfortably for longer in the 1’31s. He’s been working on the balance of the bike, whilst also using a new rear shock, placing him third. Teammate Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completed his swingarm and chassis work and is now focused on electronics and short runs. He finished ninth overall.

Having been flying high at the head of the field on day one, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team’s day two was slightly different. Toprak Razgatlioglu couldn’t replicate his day one pace in the tricky conditions, but was focused on settling in a good race pace and not just setting a strong one-off lap time. However, his ability to set a strong one-off lap time with the Q tyre itself confirms the strides he has made over the pre-season at a time attack in Tissot Superpole style. Michael van der Mark crashed in the morning session at Turn 10 but was OK. The Dutchman didn’t put a fast time in on Monday but set 15 consecutive laps in the 1’31s, demonstrating a good race pace. Toprak was fourth whilst van der Mark was seventh.

‘Pocket Rocket’ Leon Haslam (Team HRC) was once again in the top six, making it all six manufacturers inside the top half dozen once again. His lap time of a 1’30.882 was right on his race pace from last year, so there’s plenty of promise from Honda and their new CBR1000RR-R already. On the other side of the garage, Alvaro Bautista wasn’t up at the sharp end and suffered a crash at Turn 4 during the morning. He was in the top ten however, which is an important step forward ahead of the weekend.

There was a vast improvement in lap time from Scott Redding, despite the more inconsistent weather at the start of the day. The WorldSBK rookie managed to get into the 1’30 bracket as he perfected the balance of his bike. Still learning the Q tyre, Redding is aiming to be on the pace come the start of the weekend. His teammate Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) struggled to keep pace with his rookie teammate but worked away nonetheless. Redding finished in sixth but with big gains, whilst Davies was 11th on combined times.

Garrett Gerloff (31). Photo courtesy of GRT Yamaha.
Garrett Gerloff (31). Photo courtesy of GRT Yamaha.

Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki – TPR) was just outside the top ten in 13th, 0.005s behind Lowes. Cortese was impressive, considering this was his first testing on the ZX-10RR. Behind Cortese in 14th was returning Spaniard Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), whilst Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) continued to impress in 15th. He was just ahead of Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) and his teammate Federico Caricasulo, whilst Leon Camier (Barni Racing Team) and Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing Althea Honda Team) were just behind. In all, the top 17 were covered by just 1.5s.

 

Andrea Locatelli topped the times and left the field to battle for second in his wake.

Andrea Locatelli (55). Photo courtesy of Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.
Andrea Locatelli (55). Photo courtesy of Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.

After a disrupted second session on the opening day of the FIM Supersport World Championship, teams and riders were hoping for a smooth day’s running. Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) topped the times on the second day of running having done the same yesterday in a day that was disrupted by several red flags.

Locatelli was the only rider to break into the 1’32 brackets across both sessions as he finished ahead of reigning champion Randy Krummenacher (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who was second overall, more than half-a-second back from Locatelli. Krummenacher’s day was not without trouble as he suffered from a technical problem with around 30 minutes left to run in the afternoon session, with valuable track time lost as he and the team looked to work on the set-up of the bike.

Krummenacher’s MV Agusta Reparto Corse teammates, Raffaele De Rosa and Federico Fuligni, finished in fourth and 14th respectively. De Rosa’s day also ended early as he had a crash at Turn 9 with around 20 minutes remaining in the afternoon session while Fuligni also suffered from a technical issue during the session – although he was able to return to the pitlane.

Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) finished in third place in the combined classification from today’s two sessions after working to find a good balance for his bike in the morning. Cluzel had lots of tyres to use today after not running too much yesterday morning. Cluzel’s GMT94 Yamaha teammate, Corentin Perolari, finished in fifth place despite a trip through the gravel at Turn 2.

Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was sixth overall, and the fastest Kawasaki rider, just under a second behind pacesetter Locatelli with teammate Lucas Mahias finishing 11th in the combined classification, having been top Kawasaki on day one. Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) was seventh over the course of the two sessions despite a crash in the morning session at Turn 2. Odendaal’s fastest time came in the opening session of the day despite the incident at Turn 2.

Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) finished in eighth place with his teammate Patrick Hobelsberger in 18th place, both on Honda CBR600RR bikes. Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) was ninth on his Kawasaki ZX-6R with Isaac Vinales (Kallio Racing) completing the top 10 of the session. Vinales was trying some chassis and clutch parts during the test, as well as using the race engine, but with a focus on the whole season and not just the Yamaha Finance Australian Round and at Phillip Island. Vinales’ Kallio Racing teammate Hannes Soomer finished two places below Vinales in 12th place with about a tenth of a second separating the pair.Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) finished in 13th place with his teammate Loris Cresson completing the session in 21st place. Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) was 15th, just behind Fuligni, as the sole WRP Wepol Racing entry as he finished just ahead of Christoffer Bergman (Wojcik Racing Team).

Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) was classified in 17th place, ahead of Hobelsberger, with Andy Verdoia (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) one place behind in 18th place and 19th respectively. Australian wildcard Oliver Bayliss (CUBE Racing) finished in 20th place after a focus on testing tyres for today’s session. Bayliss had yesterday gone faster than he had done in the past at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit after following some of the full-time riders when they were on the same part of the track. Jamie van Sikkelerus (MPM Routz Racing Team) was 22nd in the classification while Galang Hendra Pratama did not compete in the test following a visa issue.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:

Scott Redding 6th and Chaz Davies 11th as official WorldSBK testing concludes at Phillip Island (Australia).

Two days of official WorldSBK testing for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, ended today at the Phillip Island Circuit (Australia), with Scott Redding and Chaz Davis in 6th and 11th position respectively.

Scott Redding got off to a great start on Day-2, staying in P1 for a long time. A crash at turn 10 at the start of the afternoon session (after a good lap in 1’30.8 and the best T4 overall) delayed the work programme for the second testing day.  His team, however, did an extraordinary job allowing Scott to get back on track for the final run.

After the comparison work between the 2019 and the 2020 version of the Ducati Panigale V4 R, on the second day of testing, Chaz Davies focused on the set up by putting together 65 laps.

Both Aruba.it Racing – Ducati riders also received positive information about the race pace ahead of the first round of the 2020 WorldSBK season which will kick off on Friday with the #AusWorldSBK free practice at the iconic Phillip Island circuit in Victoria State, Australia.

#45 Scott Redding – Combined Standings Day 1-2: P6

Day-1: P6 (1’31.236, +0.496, 46 laps)

Day-2: P6 (1’30.885, +0.362, 45 laps)

 

#7 Chaz Davies – Combined Standings Day 1-2: P11

Day-1: P10 (1,32,113, +1,373, 44 laps)

Day-2: P11 (1,31,533, +1,085, 65 laps)

 

Scott Redding (45). Photo courtesy of Aruba.it Racing Ducati.
Scott Redding (45). Photo courtesy of Aruba.it Racing Ducati.

Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #45)

“I’m very pleased with what we’ve done. They were two important days in which we worked on many aspects. We have closed the gap to front guys and the feeling with the bike is definitely positive. It’s a shame about today’s crash but the important thing is that there were no consequences. Maybe we still need to improve on the single lap but the race pace data is very positive”.

 

Chaz Davies (7). Photo courtesy of Aruba.it Racing Ducati.
Chaz Davies (7). Photo courtesy of Aruba.it Racing Ducati.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7)

“It’s been a busy couple of days. If I’m honest, I think I found a good feeling, maybe not great but still positive even if we still have to perfect the set up for the race. Compared to the first day of testing, however, today the feeling was better. It is clear that we still have a lot of work to do but there is a lot of confidence and above all a lot of desire to start the season in the best possible way.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team are ready for the 2020 season opener of the FIM Superbike World Championship.

Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty to compete in the first WorldSBK race of the year on Phillip Island, Australia.

Two productive test days with the BMW S 1000 RR round off pre-season preparations.
Marc Bongers: “I think that we have the chance to get onto the podium”.

Phillip Island. The countdown is on for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: This weekend (28th February to 1st March) sees the team start its second season in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) on Phillip Island (AUS). The two BMW S 1000 RR will be ridden by Tom Sykes (GBR) and his new team-mate Eugene Laverty (IRL) this year. After an intense winter, Team Principal Shaun Muir’s (GBR) crew are now ready for the first WorldSBK 2020 races.

On the Monday and Tuesday before the start of the season the team took part in a two-day test on Phillip Island. The objective was to evaluate new components and fine-tune Sykes and Laverty’s RRs. The opening weekend of the WorldSBK 2020 gets underway on Friday with the first two free practice sessions. Then, after another free practice session on Saturday, it’s the Superpole; the first race will be held in the afternoon. Sunday’s schedule starts with the warm-up, followed by the Superpole race and race two.

Ahead of the first race weekend of the season, the modified BMW S 1000 RR for the WorldSBK 2020 will be presented at a media BBQ in the paddock on Thursday. BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers, Team Principal Shaun Muir and the two riders Sykes and Laverty will be on hand to answer any questions.

Quotes ahead of the season opener on Phillip Island.
 

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “In general, we are well prepared for the season opener. After the tests in Jerez and Portimão we had some open points that we were able to continue and to confirm here in good conditions. Now we have to make our choice for the race weekend. Tom’s pace is strong and we now have to try to keep it over the race distance. With Eugene, we have identified a few things we will work on for the weekend to also further improve his pace. Our goal for the opening round is: we want to start from the front row and I think that we have the chance to get onto the podium.”

Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We’ve had two good days of testing here in Australia. On Eugene’s side, we’ve had a lot of information to work through and we had satisfying results, mostly with the electronics and his feel for the delivery of the power. That has been his focus area and while we are happy so far we will take some of this work into Friday. On Tom’s side we’ve had a huge list of items for him to test over the two days. We are pretty happy with where we are. We’ve not managed to do much race simulation due to the extensive test items, so that will be Fridays focus. We know we can qualify very well and aim to be on the front row in qualifying. But it’s not about qualifying, it’s about the race and we know that to be in contention for a podium position, we need to do consistent fast lap times in the latter parts of race. To do so and to be on the podium is definitely the goal for the season opener.”

Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy of BMW Motorrad Motorsport.
Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy of BMW Motorrad Motorsport.

Tom Sykes: “I’m very happy with the way things have gone. We had very successful winter tests, didn’t get too carried away with the lap times and really focused on the set-up of the BMW S 1000 RR. We really got through a strong test programme and when we came here to Phillip Island, it has paid off. As soon as I rolled out, the bike felt very good and we were able to work on the little parameters that we had in store before the race weekend. Overall, I’m happy with the outcome. We have a lot of information that we will study over next days and we will try to come back strong for the race weekend with a good base set-up. Regarding my goals for the season opener: obviously everybody is here trying to win races. I just want to be more consistent throughout the season but we always have to aim for the podium, always have to try to make that podium into a race win and obviously here it is not different.”

Eugene Laverty (50). Photo courtesy of BMW Motorrad Motorsport.
Eugene Laverty (50). Photo courtesy of BMW Motorrad Motorsport.

Eugene Laverty: “I’m a typical rider, I always want more time, an extra day to be ready but it has been a good couple of test days. We’ve worked a lot towards race preparation because you have concentrate on 20 laps not just on one lap and that has been our focus. We still have some work to do to do that fast lap time as for example Tom has been able to do but I’m confident that we will get there. We need to be fighting up there for the podium because this bike’s capable of it at this track. We’re feeling prepared. We need some more dry time on Friday to find our one lap pace but I’m confident that for the long distance, we will be there.”

 

 

 

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

KRT Riders Complete Final Tests

The Phillip Island circuit in Australia hosted the final pre-season test for the WorldSBK riders on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 February, with Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes wrapping up their pre-race checks and set-up tasks in readiness for the first round of the year this coming weekend.

Rea took his official Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR to the top place overall on the time sheets, with Lowes 12th.

Light rain and several red flags prevented a full first day of action but on the second day the early morning and then afternoon sessions allowed the KRT staff to evaluate tyre options and set-up decisions looking to the imminent arrival of race weekend.

Rea worked on both tyre life and finding an optimum bike balance to take on the unique 4.445km Phillip Island circuit, which is always a tough test for tyre durability at race pace.

Lowes also worked on machine balance to find feel and feedback after realising that his previous set-up from the European winter test programme needed some modification at such a fast and flowing circuit. He and his tech crew have now settled on a base set-up to take into the start of race weekend on Friday.

Now the refreshed KRT line up of five times champion Rea and new signing Lowes will face three races at PI – two full distance events (one on Saturday and one on Sunday) and a ten lap sprint race on Sunday morning, 1 March.

The opening round of the 2020 championship is the first of 13 rounds, with the second one coming along at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, between 13 and 15 March.

Jonathan Rea (1). Photo courtesy of Kawasaki.
Jonathan Rea (1). Photo courtesy of Kawasaki.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been a positive test all-in-all. Even though some sessions were hindered a bit by the weather, we have been able to confirm a lot of items from the balance side, to try to get the bike to turn more naturally. That was out focus coming here, knowing what we knew from last year. I felt good with the bike and tested two different front tyres. Both gave good but different sensations so it is more about understanding which one we go towards the weekend with. You never really know in this race. We have done race distance on all the tyres we used and I feel fast and consistent with all. But you never really know until the race. It is clear at this track that you can go all out and be really fast but you tend to run into issues at the end of the race. So it is more about trying to make your consistent rhythm easy and I feel like we have a bike that is quite user-friendly. That is positive to go into Friday with.”

Alex Lowes (22). Photo courtesy of Kawasaki.
Alex Lowes (22). Photo courtesy of Kawasaki.

Alex Lowes, stated: “Obviously it has not been as easy to find the right feeling and set-up on the bike as I would have liked coming here but also it is the first time on the bike on such a strange track layout. It is so fast here, with lots of changes of direction. How I felt on the bike earlier in the winter tests was not quite the same here, so we worked a bit on the set-up. I got a little bit frustrated a couple of times, made a couple of mistakes, but the last session it was a bit better and we have found a base set-up that I can go into the weekend with. I am looking forward to getting my first race weekend in green started in a few days from now.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Before coming here, and it is the same as every year, we knew this is the real first time that you can see everybody – all the teams, riders and manufacturers – and there are some new bikes and riders – so before you come here you are expecting to see where everybody is. Now we can understand where everyone is. Last year was tough for us even if Johnny finished all the races in second place; Alvaro was really strong and riding really well. We struggled with the rear tyre so before we came here I studied this aspect and we focused 100% on the most important points of this track. Phillip Island is quite unique and we have to save the tyre for race distance. But at the same time you have to be fast. We worked calmly with Johnny and he understands what this track asks of him, so step-by-step we focused and followed all the items we wanted to test – all the plans – so we are happy.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “We did not finish where we would have wanted to finish in the timesheets but we were fast and competitive over race distance, which is very positive. We did most laps during this test, which was one of our targets. This is a special track and we did not have too many laps in the previous winter tests before we got here. The overall package of Alex and the bike are still fresh and therefore I am sure we can improve our performance for the weekend.”

Other Kawasaki WorldSBK riders at the PI test included Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s Xavi Fores, who was overall 14th and Sandro Cortese from the Outdo Kawasaki TPR squad with the 13th fastest time. New rider for 2020, Chilean Maximilian Scheib from the Orelac Racing VerdNatura team, ended up 15th from the 19 riders at PI.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Honda Pro Racing:

Team HRC makes progress as the final pre-season tests conclude at Phillip Island

Honda WorldSBK

25 Feb 2020 

The final WorldSBK test sessions prior to the start of the 2020 Championship have now drawn to a close for Team HRC. On track at Phillip Island in Australia, Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam worked hard across Monday and Tuesday, despite rain conditioning proceedings on Monday afternoon.

With significant set-up solutions to test, the team adopted a methodical approach on Monday and made gradual progress on both sides of the garage. Back on what initially was still a wet track this morning, both Haslam and Bautista were nevertheless able to improve on their best times set yesterday, the Brit recording a 1’31.046 to finish sixth, the Spaniard lowering his time by more than a second to close eighth with a 1’31.453.

Conditions remained dry for the afternoon’ final session and, towards the very end of this last session, Haslam was able to further lower his lap time, setting a 1’30.882 to position fifth in the combined two-day standings. Bautista closed tenth overall with the time set during the morning’s stint (1’31.453).

Team HRC will return to the Phillip Island circuit on Friday, ready for the first practice sessions making up the opening round of the 2020 Superbike World Championship.

Leon Haslam (91). Photo courtesy of Honda Pro Racing.
Leon Haslam (91). Photo courtesy of Honda Pro Racing.

Leon Haslam
We’ve made some steps forward today, despite the windy conditions being a bit of a problem this afternoon. Unfortunately, there is never enough time, especially considering how many elements we have to test but we’ve got a lot done here. Our lap times are not bad and I’m quite happy with our consistency in terms of the tyres. Overall, I feel we’re making good progress although the testing only tells us so much of course. We won’t know exactly where we are until we race, so we’ll know more come the weekend – it’s going to be interesting.

Alvaro Bautista (19). Photo courtesy of Honda Pro Racing.
Alvaro Bautista (19). Photo courtesy of Honda Pro Racing.

Alvaro Bautista
This test has been very important for us of course and I think we’ve made progress. With respect to yesterday, my feeling with the Fireblade was a little better this morning, while this afternoon was a little trickier in the wind and on a more slippery track. We’ve also tested tyres today, finding positives and negatives as is always the case, and we also attempted a long run in order to collect as much data as possible ahead of the first races. All this information is really important as we move forward and I’m confident we can take another step forward this coming weekend. The potential, power and speed are all there, now we just need to work to be able to effectively harness it all.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Go Eleven:

LAST DAY OF TESTING, AWESOME FEELING WITH USED TYRES!

On the night between Monday and Tuesday, a violent storm hit Phillip Island, where will take place the Round 1 branded WorldSBK. The track has changed considerably compared to yesterday, but the warm weather helped to quickly restore optimal conditions.

In the first part of the morning Team Go Eleven, together with the rider Michael Rinaldi, used the wet track for a shakedown with what will be the race bike. Everything turned out to be in order and ready for the debut. Thus, the test program has resumed, trying to make the V4-R Go Eleven more manageable. From mid-shift onwards Michael shows a step forward in his feeling with his Ducati, managing to significantly improve yesterday’s lap time; enters the top ten with a 1.31.438 that projects him close to the top.

Michael Rinaldi (21). Photo courtesy of Team Go Eleven.
Michael Rinaldi (21). Photo courtesy of Team Go Eleven.

Michael Rinaldi:

In the afternoon session, the number 21 from Romagna focuses on the race pace, making several passes on the “31” high, demonstrating great confidence with the bike, showing a good race pace with used tyres. There were some technical tests in this last available session, too: a new swingarm made its appearance on the rear of the V4-R Go Eleven. Despite a not too exciting first quick impression, Michael became familiar with the new technical characteristics and managed to push, improving the morning’s time in an overall slower session due to the strong wind.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pata Yamaha:

Positive Final Tests for Razgatlıoğlu and Van der Mark

Phillip Island, Australia (25 Feb 2020) – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla riders Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark completed the final pre-season test at Phillip Island in strong form, as they posted the fourth and seventh fastest lap times overall respectively.

Razgatlioglu once again showed real pace and confidence on the new 2020 Pata Yamaha R1 by finishing only 0.292 seconds from the fastest time, despite also working for long periods on used tyre pace and bike balance to carry into the three races at Phillip Island this coming weekend.

After a strong two days on track for Yamaha’s Official Team, van der Mark was satisfied with the seventh fastest lap, having focused on overall race pace and making final technical preparations – which included two very encouraging full distance race simulations.

Razgatlioglu set 123 laps in total against his main rivals, and van der Mark would have posted more than the 103 he ended up with were it not for suffering a crash earlier today in the final sector, on a lap that would have seen him challenge the outright best. He recovered well to get to within one-tenth of his personal best time, set in FP3 this morning, in the final session after some slick work in the pits from his technical crew.

The 4.445km long Phillip Island circuit witnessed light rain at times on day one, and several red flag incidents, but the team made the best of their available track time at a circuit which has a reputation for being very tough on tyre durability, especially on the left side.

With the potential for high tyre wear in mind, technical solutions and adjustments to riding styles were much more of a focus today than going for any class leading single lap time, after Razgatlioglu had been the fastest rider of all on day one.<

Now the attention of the Pata Yamaha with Rizla team is to focus on making a good start to the race weekend, on Friday 28 February, to prepare for the first race of what appears to be shaping up as an exciting new season on Saturday 29.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy of Pata Yamaha.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy of Pata Yamaha.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – Position: 4th Time: 1’30.740

“We worked to have good grip and a bike that turns well and again we will try more with these things with my R1 on Friday. We are happy because for me it is very important that I could ride the R1 at this track in dry conditions. This final afternoon I rode more in a race style and it was not bad; quite good really. But on Friday we will try another new set-up for even better grip. It is important to do race simulations and our laps were consistent. I felt good. Michael was also fast in race conditions so we will see how things are in the races. Phillip Island races can start slow, slow and then fast – I remember last year we started with 1’32 laps times then after some laps we went into the 1’31s. But we will have to see, because this is 2020, not 2019!”

Michael van der Mark (60). Photo courtesy of Pata Yamaha.
Michael van der Mark (60). Photo courtesy of Pata Yamaha.

Michael van der Mark – Position: 7th Time: 1’31.077

“I am quite happy with our test and the 2020 R1. Our main goal was to improve our race pace and save our tyres. Yesterday we did a long run, which was really positive, and today we tried some different things with the rear suspension and the pace was there again, especially in a race simulation. So, I am really happy with how the test went but unfortunately this morning when I was on my way to my fastest lap I crashed, so that was a shame. But if you look back at the race simulations they were pretty good. Today I did 20 laps and the tyres were still fine. You have to start the race with a different approach than normal here but this is not my first time in Phillip Island, so we know this. At the beginning I think everyone will be a little bit conservative but at the end we will see who is the strongest. It is always going to be a surprise in this race!”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“I don’t think any team or manufacturer finishes the Phillip Island test with all the boxes ticked and all the answers they might have been looking for put into place. However, despite a few more details still to improve, in general, we are very happy with the work completed and the raw pace of both riders and the R1. The crew have done a great job, including on Mikey’s side to get a badly damaged bike ready during the second free practice today. Now the job is to simply make a clear plan for the race weekend and find a couple of tenths where we can, but more importantly, provide the guys with an R1 that can do 22 strong and consistent laps on Saturday and Sunday – our goals are certainly higher than they were at this circuit a year ago.”

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