The final round of testing before the start of the 2020 Superbike World Championship took place at the Philip Island circuit this week with Toprak Razgatlioglu topping the charts at the end of Day one for PATA YAMAHA.
The first session ended half an hour early due there being oil on the track caused by Takumi Takahashi’s Honda (MIE Racing Althea Honda Team) between turns 3 and 4 and after second practice the Honda rider finished in 19th place. Rain interrupted the second session later in the day.
Toprak and his teammate Michael van der Mark had been trying to find the balance between performace and the durability of the tyres by focusing on small upgrades and Michael finished 7th at the end of day one.
Tom Sykes riding for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team finished in 2nd by just 0.022 seconds behind Toprak with Loris Baz (Ten Kate Yamaha Racing) finishing just 0.015 seconds behind him in third place – all very close at the top! Baz’s teammate, Eugene Laverty finished in 8th, less than a second off the top time.
Despite a crash (he was okay) at Turn 4, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished in ninth place with his reigning Champion teammate Jonathan Rea continuing to show his pace in 4th place. Rea last won at this circuit in 2017 so is looking to change that to a win this year.
This year marks the return of Team HRC as a full-factory outfit so Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista have been focusing on various aspects of the bikes in this season’s testing at Portimao and here in Philip Island ending the day in 5th and 15th place respectively.
Finishing the top six was the Ducati ridden by Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) with his teammate, Chaz Davies, down in 10th some 1.373 seconds behind the top runner, Toprak. The ZX-10RR ridden by Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) finished 11th followed by Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) in 12th.
Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished ahead of Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) followed by Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) finishing in 16th place ahead of teammate Garrett Gerloff. Finishing off the board was Leon Camier in 18th place for the (Barni Racing Team).
The unofficial top six lap times from day one:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) 1.’30.740
2. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.022
3. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.037
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.256
5. Leon Haslam (Team HRC) +0.456
6. Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +0.496
Day two of testing resulted in the top 17 riders covered by just 1.5 seconds!
Rain came during the stages with numerous crashes and red flags including Alvaro Bautista, Scott Redding and Jonathan Rea but despite crashing, Rea still finished at the top just ahead of Loris Baz who impressively is still using his 2019 engine! Can’t wait to see what the 2020 engine brings for the Frenchman and the independent Ten Kate Racing Yamaha team.
‘Pocket Rocket’ Leon Haslam finished 3rd on the new CBR1000RR-R whilst his teammate Alvaro Bautista crashed at Turn 4 (he was okay) but finished down in 17th.
WorldSBK rookie Scott Redding improved in his standings from yesterday’s testing and got up to 4th for the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati team whilst his teammate Chaz Davies couldn’t quite keep up with him and finished in 13th
Finishing in 5th for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team was 2013 WorldSBK Champion Tom Sykes with his teammate Eugene Laverty finishing in 11th.
Finishing the top 6 was Michael van der Mark despite crashing in the morning at Turn 10 (he was okay) and down in in 7th was Toprak Razgatlioglu despite finishing top of the board in yesterday’s practice.
Impressively the independent Team GOELEVEN finished in 8th with Michael Ruben Rinaldi at the helm.
Sandro Cortese had his first day of testing on the ZX-10RR for the OUTDO Kawasaki – TPR team and finished 13th followed by Xavi Fores riding for (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). In 15th was Maximilian Scheib for (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) team just ahead of Garrett Gerloff for the (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) closely followed by his teammate Federico Caricasulo
Unofficial top six lap times from day two:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’30.523
2. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.235
3. Leon Haslam (HRC Team) +0.359
4. Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +0.362
5. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.472
6. Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM) +0.564
The start of the WorldSBK season starts this coming weekend and is looking like it’s going to be a really exciting season with all to play for.