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The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship roared into action at Phillip Island with an action-packed opening encounter. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) claimed the victory by one of the smallest margins in WorldSBK history. Just 0.137s separated the top four riders at the end of a thrilling opening race to the season.
At the start of the race polesitter Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) lost the lead to reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), with the pair coming together on track. Sykes was able to continue without leaving the track but Rea’s race was disrupted after a trip through the gravel. He was able to continue but re-joined the circuit in 18th and last place. Rea’s race came to an end after five laps when he crashed at Turn 8.
On lap two of 22, Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) passed Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) at Turn 1 for second place as Sykes maintained his lead throughout the first half of the race. Sykes would continue to maintain the lead before rookie Redding made a move on him at Turn 1, slicing ahead in style.
Van der Mark followed Redding through for second place shortly afterwards before race winner Razgatlioglu passed Sykes into Turn 4, meaning the polesitter had fallen from first to fourth in the space of just four corners. On Lap 12, Sykes found himself moving further down the order to sixth as both Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Leon Haslam (Team HRC) passed him.
Redding’s lead at the front of the race lasted just three laps as he got passed by both Razgatlioglu and van der Mark on Lap 14. With eight laps to go Razgatlioglu was leading the race with teammate van der Mark. Razgatlioglu’s lead lasted four laps as he traded positions with teammate van der Mark, who looked to be building a gap at the front.
However, the gap stretched to a few tenths at most as Razgatlioglu, Redding and Lowes kept up with van der Mark’s pace throughout the latter stages of the race. All four riders were able to pull away from Sykes and Haslam towards the end, meaning a group of four were chasing victory in the first race of the season.
Razgatlioglu was able to hold on to victory from Lowes and Redding with the trio separated by just 0.041s at the end of the race and van der Mark just a tenth back in fourth place; it was the second-closest podium in WorldSBK history. Lowes was third going into the final corner but took advantage of van der Mark getting slightly off line as he looked to pass Razgatlioglu. With Toprak getting a slight twitch leaving the final corner, he and Lowes had a drag race to the line with Redding and van der Mark trailing just behind.
Haslam was able to hold on to fifth from Honda teammate Alvaro Bautista, who started in 15th, as the Spanish rider charged his way through the field. After a crash in the Tissot Superpole left him without a chance to set a time on the qualifying tyre, Bautista recovered to finish only half a second behind his teammate.
Loris Baz (Ken Tate Racing Yamaha) finished as the top Independent rider by finishing where he started the race in seventh. Redding’s Ducati teammate, Chaz Davies, finished the race in eighth after making his way through the field in a similar fashion to Bautista with polesitter Sykes eventually taking the flag in ninth.
Italian rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) finished just 0.012s behind Sykes, who lost a lot of ground at the end of the race. His BMW teammate, Eugene Laverty, finished in 11th place just 0.027s behind his teammate. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) held off Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) to finish in 12th while his teammate, Garrett Gerloff, finished in 14th place, both on their debut.
Gerloff had been running as high as seventh place during the race but fell back down the order as the race approached its conclusion, perhaps highlighting inexperience around a circuit that places high demands on tyres. He finished ahead of Chilean Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura), who also started the race strongly and ran as high as ninth place.
Scheib was the last classified runner with Takumi Takahashi, Xavi Fores and Rea all not finishing the race. Fores crashed out on Lap 10 while Takahashi had a mechanical issue in the latter stages.
Phillip Island plays host to the FIM Supersport World Championship opener as Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) claimed pole position in Tissot Superpole on his WorldSSP debut. Locatelli had shown fast pace throughout the Official Test and the Free Practice sessions and converted that to pole position with a last-gasp effort, shattering the lap record in the process.
Locatelli will line up alongside two WorldSSP Champions after Randy Krummenacher (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) qualified in second and third place respectively. Both Locatelli and Krummenacher broke the existing lap record on their way to claiming first and second on the grid, as both traded paint for WorldSSP supremacy in Australia. Locatelli had led the way during the session but Krummenacher put in a lap faster than the Italian rookie by 0.017s. Locatelli was able to respond to this on his last flying lap to claim his first WorldSSP pole position, meaning he leads the front row alongside two Champions.
Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) qualified in fourth place, despite a FP3 crash, on the second row and will line-up alongside Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), with the latter starting from a healthy position on his WorldSSP debut. With the grid lining up like this, Yamaha, MV Agusta and Kawasaki have a bike on the first and second rows making for an exciting prospect on Sunday afternoon.
Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) will start in seventh place ahead of Spanish rider Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing). Cluzel’s GMT94 teammate Corentin Perolari qualified in ninth place to round out the third row on the grid with Federico Fuligni (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) completing the top ten.
Turkish rookie Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) will line up in 11th on the grid as he leads Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) in 12th. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) qualified in 13th place ahead of Britain’s Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing). Another rookie, Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing), qualified in 18th. Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) was the top Honda rider after he qualified in 15th.
Ahead of the 2020 season opener, Dorna Sports’ digital product range is growing with the launch of MotoGP Fantasy. A new, free-to-play game, it allows fans to delve into the sport they love and be a part of it – by creating, managing and competing with their very own MotoGP teams and riders. The competition is sure to be as close as the action on track.
Getting fans to the heart of the action is a calling card for MotoGP, be it trackside at some of the world’s greatest racetracks, with cutting-edge TV graphics and ways to watch or interactivity on an ever-increasing level. Fan involvement, interaction and retention is the cornerstone of the entertainment industry and MotoGP Fantasy focuses on that vital connection, extending the paddock to the palm of each fan’s hand and getting them involved in a way never before seen in motorsport.
MotoGP Fantasy is designed to increase user retention rates across MotoGP platforms, amplify interaction between fan and sport and keep users engaged with the incredible range of content MotoGP provides – from the game to the races themselves. Gamers score based on the results of each Grand Prix, creating two-way incentivisation for fans to watch each race of the Championship – and play each round in MotoGP Fantasy.
As well as keeping existing fans engaged, MotoGP Fantasy also seeks to reach new audiences. A key focus of Dorna Sports’ digital strategy is the ever-increasing portfolio of digital products that serve as a perfect gateway to the universe of MotoGP, and gaming is a vital part of boosting both fan engagement and increasing audiences in key demographics. MotoGP Fantasy joins an important portfolio of products with that same aim, including the MotoGP eSport Championship, the MotoGP official videogame and MotoGP Quest – all of which will be found in the MotoGP GameHub, set to launch soon on motogp.com.
Manel Arroyo, Managing Director – Dorna Sports:
“I am proud to see MotoGP once again lead the way within the digital landscape with the launch of MotoGP Fantasy. We are committed to increasing fan enjoyment, engagement and interaction with MotoGP, and gaming is an increasingly important facet of our digital strategy for both our existing fans and the audiences we are always aiming to reach out to as our sport only continues to grow.”
MotoGP Fantasy will be promoted on-site at Grands Prix and across Dorna Sports’ digital platforms, and is available now on motogp.com, fantasy.motogp.com and in the official MotoGP app.
Source: Dorna Sports
After the first Free Practice session, topped by Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), ran in mixed conditions, the second session was completely dry. It was a disrupted session following a Red Flag ten minutes into the session for debris on the track, but Redding was able to top the session as the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is well and truly underway in frenetic fashion.
Redding was one of several riders who set a flurry of fast laps at the end of the 50-minute session as he finished first by almost half-a-second from Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team). Turkish rider Razgatlioglu held off teammate Michael van der Mark who finished third in the session. Razgatlioglu and van der Mark were leading the onslaught to British rider but he was able to resist, slamming in a strong lap time to put a healthy margin between his rivals.
Leon Haslam (Team HRC) had been top of the session until the final flurry of laps but finished fourth on his Honda. While Haslam was top of the order, he faced competition from Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha). Baz was consistently setting fast laps and lapped within 0.037s of Haslam but was unable to usurp the British rider. Baz finished the session in fifth place ahead of five-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in sixth place and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in seventh. Rea’s Kawasaki teammate, Alex Lowes, finished just outside the top ten in 11th place.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) started off the session in the lower half of the field but improved his pace throughout the session and finished in eighth place. Bautista’s run throughout the session included a slide through Stoner Corner, the third corner on the circuit. The 35-year-old Spaniard seems to have found a breakthrough following the Official Test and will be one to watch throughout the rest of the weekend.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) finished in ninth despite a mechanical issue at the start of the session which meant he returned to the pits minutes after joining the track. He was able to re-join the action around halfway through the session and kept improving his lap time to eventually finish in ninth place ahead of Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who rounded out the top ten in the second practice session on his return to the Championship.
German rider Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) finished the session in 12th place, the last rider to finish within one second of pace setting Redding. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) finished the session in 13th place ahead of Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and American rider Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team); Gerloff particularly impressing on his first time at the track in a race weekend.
Gerloff’s teammate Federico Caricasulo finished the session in 16th place, a tenth of a second behind his teammate, and 0.024s ahead of Chilean rider Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura). Leon Camier (Barni Racing Team) and Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing Althea Honda Team) rounded out the field in 18th and 19th respectively.
- Phillip Island is the track with most WorldSBK races run: 58. The first appearance of the Australian track in the calendar was back in 1990.
- Ducati have collected no less than 65 podium finishes at Phillip Island: that is the third highest value in history for a manufacturer on a given track after the 81 podiums set by themselves in Misano and the 75 in Assen.
- Kawasaki is the manufacturer to beat in Superpole here: they have got pole in the last five years, the absolute record sequence for Phillip Island (Ducati follows with 3 straight Superpoles in 2006-2008).
- The closest finish in WorldSBK history happened in 2010 at Phillip Island in Race 1, as Leon Haslam won by 0.004s ahead of Michel Fabrizio.
- The fastest ever top speed recorded at Phillip Island is 326.3 kph, set last year by Chaz Davies on his Ducati Panigale V4 R during the race.
- The most successful rider at Phillip Island is Troy Corser with 7 wins, followed by Troy Bayliss at 6. Among the current riders, Jonathan Rea can have a shot at the top spot as he won here 5 times.
- Australian riders have won their home race here 23 times out of 58, the last win was in 2008 with a double from Troy Bayliss. Since then, riders from seven different countries have won here.
- Troy Corser is the record holder for podiums at Phillip Island with 12, but Jonathan Rea is approaching fast: he counts 10 at the moment, all obtained in the 11 races he run with Kawasaki here from 2015 onwards.
- In all the 32 seasons run so far, the eventual Champion always finished the opening race in the first 5 places, with Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea being the only Champions to start their winning campaigns with a fifth position in 2013 and 2018.
- The British riders are set for a comeback at Phillip Island: they set the record for most consecutive wins by a country at this track with 6 straight from 2015 Race 1 to 2017 Race 2, but afterwards, they’ve not won, as both 2018 races were won by Marco Melandri and last year, Alvaro Bautista won all the three races.
The dust has settled, and the talking has stopped: after a long winter, the time has come for one of the most anticipated and unpredictable seasons in years to ignite.
The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is finally upon us and after three months of winter testing, the new year looks set to bring World Superbike action closer than ever before. New teams, new riders, new motorcycles, new circuits, new challenges and new team line-ups headline 2020, which starts at a traditional WorldSBK venue: celebrating 30 years since WorldSBK’s first race at the track, Phillip Island welcomes classic action for the season-opening Yamaha Finance Australian Round.
Kawasaki headed the most recent test at Phillip Island; Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) put the reigning Manufacturers’ Champions on top as he searches for his first win in Australia since 2017. Rea topped some pre-season tests but had limited dry running due to weather; he’s still however the man to beat. His teammate Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will make his anticipated KRT racing debut and aims for a first podium of his career at Phillip Island. Both crashed during the Phillip Island Official Test however, showing they make errors.
One of the biggest stories from pre-season is that the new Yamaha YZF R1 is a weapon to be taken seriously, particularly in the hands of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team). The Turk has been electric, topping the Portimao test and the opening day at Phillip Island. Toprak’s proven that Yamaha are title-challengers in 2020, and with a breakthrough in his Q tyre performance, all eyes are on the 23-year-old. On the other side of the garage, Michael van der Mark showed phenomenal race pace and will be in contention from round one in 2020.
Over at the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati squad, the big news is that Scott Redding is the big-name rookie in 2020. The Brit topped testing in Portugal on day one, whilst making major improvements on day two of testing in Australia. A circuit he likes and one where the Ducati Panigale V4 R stormed to three wins in 2019, Redding is tipped as Rea’s biggest challenger. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) had a tricky pre-season, with fifth at Portimao yet outside the top ten at Phillip Island. However, don’t discount Davies, as he has six podiums to his name on ‘The Island’.
Honda’s all-new CBR1000RR-R has proven to be an enormous surprise in testing, with the first public test at Jerez leaving it on top after one day. With Leon Haslam (Team HRC) and Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC), the Japanese constructor returns as a factory effort to WorldSBK for the first time since 2002. Both Bautista and Haslam have been vice Champions in World Superbike and both have incredible form at Phillip Island, with Haslam winning his first race there in 2010 (WorldSBK’s closest finish), whilst Bautista took three wins in 2019 debut. Can they conquer the Honda this weekend?
Enormous gains have been made by BMW and the new S1000 RR, brought out last season. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) has incrementally worked his way through testing and feels far more prepared for Phillip Island this year. A best result of second, three pole positions but yet to win, Sykes looks like he may be able to change that. Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) is Sykes’ new teammate for 2020 and is searching to get back to the front of the field. Laverty has won at Phillip Island twice, of which the last one in 2014 was his last… so far.
The Independent teams have been looking strong in the pre-season, with Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in particularly being a revelation. The Frenchman has been consistently in the top three and was lapping in a metronomic fashion during testing. Who would bet against a strong opening weekend for Baz, especially given his previous Phillip Island podium?
Another former Phillip Island podium finisher returns to WorldSBK this year, as Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) sets his sights on the top positions. Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki – TPR) has been strong at the Phillip Island Official Test, the only time he has had on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Other Independent riders include Leon Camier (Barni Racing Team), who comes into 2020 with a shoulder injury, and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Goeleven), who has been inside the top eight.
Besides Scott Redding, there’s more rookies making their full-time debuts in WorldSBK this weekend. MotoAmerica Superbike race winner Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) joins the grid and has 2019 WorldSSP runner-up and fellow rookie Federico Caricasulo as teammate. Chile has representation as Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) makes the step up and he’s been quick in testing, whilst Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing Althea Honda Team) will also be stepping into the class for the whole season.
Testing may not be conclusive evidence of what the order may be over the course of the season but testing at the circuit hosting the opening round may give an idea of what to expect this weekend. Rookie Andrea Locatelli (BARDHAL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) was fastest in all sessions at the Phillip Island Official Test with 2019 Champion Randy Krummenacher not far behind. Both have valued experience and look set to do battle, although plenty of others will be in their slipstream and in contention for the curtain-raising event.
Krummenacher will be joined by two other riders in the MV Agusta Reparto Corse team – Raffaele De Rosa and Federico Fuligni as the three riders riding an MV Agusta bike as they all look for the MV Agusta F3 675 to take them to poles, podiums and wins throughout the 2020 season. He topped the testing timesheets at Jerez and has got the MV Agusta suited to his liking. Both he and machine are looking like real contenders at Phillip Island.
Krummenacher is not the only Champion on the grid with 2017 Champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) still riding in the series alongside Philipp Oettl on a Kawasaki ZX-6R bike throughout the 2020 season. It’s now Mahias’ second season with Kawasaki machinery following his switch from Yamaha last year. Oettl and Mahias are joined on the Kawasaki ZX-6R by Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) and Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) as the four riders powered by Kawasakis on the 2020 grid. Both Gonzalez and Öncü are rookies this season, although both have performed exceptionally well at such a young age.
Honda are also represented on the grid with two bikes from the same team, with Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) re-joining the PTR squad, alongside Patrick Hobelsberger. Okubo is making a return to Honda after two years riding a Kawasaki and finishing fifth in the 2019 Supersport World Championship. Hobelsberger is in a full-time entry after a one-off appearance at the 2019 Riviera di Rimini Round at Misano.
Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) was runner-up in this race last year as he finished just over six seconds behind Krummenacher. He will be looking to go one step further in 2020 and stand on the top step of the podium at a track he has two wins at. GMT94 Yamaha have kept an unchanged line-up as Cluzel is joined once again by Corentin Perolari. Both riders have shown pace in the Phillip Island Official Test with Cluzel and Perolari finishing third and fifth respectively on day two.
Spanish sensation Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) and teammate Hannes Sommer are lining up together as they ride a Yamaha YZF R6 looking for success in WorldSSP. Viñales made the podium three times in his debut World Supersport season in 2019, all from outside the top five on the grid, while Estonian Sommer is entering his third season of WorldSSP. Both are hoping the YZF-R6 will be able to take them to the podium throughout 2020, after promising testing.
Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) and fellow Team Toth Yamaha rider Loris Cresson have both been around the WorldSSP paddock for several years, through a mix of part-season campaigns and full-time efforts. The experience they have in the paddock is important, as they look to build on their 2019 campaigns, finishing 11th and 12th in the standings respectively.
Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) is another rider who is riding a Yamaha YZF R6 in the 2020 season, with 13 out of 22 full-time entries set to ride Yamaha machinery. Odendaal is making the switch to WorldSSP after numerous appearances in Moto2, plus one full-time campaign in 2018 – where he was classified 28th in the standings with four points.
Galang Hendra Pratama (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) goes into the Australian Round somewhat on the backfoot after missing the Official Test at Phillip Island. The Indonesian is making his debut in WorldSSP after two full-time seasons in World Supersport 300, picking up two wins in the lightweight category, including in his second ever race as a wildcard in 2017. He is joined at bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS by Andy Verdoia, who is also making the step up from WorldSSP300. Verdoia finished fourth in the 2019 season and picked up two podiums during the year, finishing as the highest placed Yamaha rider.
There are another three single-bike team entries which include Jaimie van Sikkelerus (MPM Routz Racing Team), Christoffer Bergman (Wojcik Racing Team) and Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing), with all three powered by Yamaha. Oliver Bayliss is also making a wildcard appearance at the Australian Round in the WorldSSP category. The son of three-time MOTUL FIM Superbike World Champion Troy, Oliver finished fifth in the Australian Supersport series in 2019.
As web publishers and graphic designers, we’re very much in love with the new font that’s been developed for MotoGP…
The Fontsmith design team (now part of the Monotype Studio) collaborated with Dorna Sports to design an original, premium and charismatic typographic identity for MotoGP. The goal is to reach the fan and transmit MotoGP’s racing essence, investing resources in design, technology and communication. MotoGP is a global show broadcasted worldwide where the protagonists are the riders, the bikes, the circuits and the fans.
MotoGP uses a wide range of communication channels, with a focus on digital platforms and TV. The main goal was to capture the spirit of MotoGP and translate it into letterforms that would render perfectly on screen. The 2020 season now launches with a brand-new typographic system.
The new fonts are called MotoGP Text and Display, they channel the values of MotoGP; remaining true to the essence of motorsport and focused on creating the best. They provide consistency both in terms of image and as a brand identity asset.
Having their own MotoGP typeface is a first step towards developing a new brand identity. The new typographical direction delivers a key component of our overall brand strategy; helping to reposition MotoGP and the sport as a global media and entertainment brand.
The inspiration in its creation came from circuit layouts and corners, with their open and final shapes and pointed diagonals that connect with the technological element of the competition. There are seven weights which could be extended in the future.
The consensus on the final decision was reached considering the specific needs of each of the departments involved such as media, strategy, graphic design and branding as well as the technological evolution.
Pedro Arilla, Creative Type Director, Monotype:
“Every custom brand typeface project starts as an exercise in how to encapsulate a brand voice in a typeface. MotoGP is a fearless, striking and fierce competition. Thus, the MotoGP font family must be spikey, angular, curved and sharp — an eclectic mix of visual mechanisms to trigger an absorbing medley of feelings. The typeface skeleton was drawn for on-screen optimal performance. To incorporate the MotoGP visual aroma into the design, we looked at the competition heritage and applied nuances of circuit design and open track shapes with a subtle curvy construction.”
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.
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.
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.
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.