WSBK: Round #1 - Phillip Island Day One Report

Alex Lowes race action shot

WSBK Press Release:

Only 37 thousands of a second separated Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) at the end of second free practice for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island. Following a wet morning session that saw only few riders taking to the track, the whole field made the most of the near perfect conditions to continue their preparation for the debut races of the year. Rookie sensation Lowes started off well by moving on top of the classification and kept the lead as the session progressed, followed by team-mate Eugene Laverty.

Alex Lowes:

“Today was good. The wind was really bad and affecting the bike a lot, but we still made some progress in certain areas. I’m looking forward to going out tomorrow and confirming that it is definitely better when the weather’s more favorable. I really like Phillip Island; when a track is as windy as it’s been today it is hard to enjoy it, but I think it’s a great track, and I’m looking forward to the racing here.

Marco Melandri race action shot

As the on track action moved into the final stages, Melandri elevated himself to second ahead of fellow Italian Davide Giugliano and Tom Sykes, who also climbed up the timings in the late stages. The reigning Champion had an off track moment before regrouping to put in his session best, whilst on the other hand team mate Loris Baz suffered his third crash of the week, fortunately unhurt. The young Frenchman finished eighth behind Leon Haslam, who was seventh, Eugene Laverty, who dropped to sixth and Haslam's team-mate Jonathan Rea, who eventually climbed to fifth in the final minutes.

Chaz Davies suffered a spectacular high side at turn 9 and was taken to the medical center for precautionary checks. Race 1 winner last year Sylvain Guintoli rounded out the top 10.

A three way battle for twelfth place involved EVO riders NiccolòCanepa (Althea Racing Team Ducati), Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and David Salom, with Italian Canepa coming out on top to lead the EVO field.

World Superbike action will resume tomorrow morning for the third free practice session and the last chance for all riders to make it into the first Tissot-Superpole of the year.

2014 World Superbike rider group photo

Day One Times:

1. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'31.100 average 175.653 kph

2. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'31.137

3. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'31.205

4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'31.395

5. Rea (Honda) 1'31.436

6. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'31.448

7. Haslam (Honda) 1'31.533

8. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'31.637

9. Davies (Ducati) 1'31.757

10. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'31.759

11. Elias (Aprilia) 1'32.073

12. Canepa (Ducati) 1'32.340

13. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'32.734

14. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'32.944

15. Allerton (BMW) 1'33.118

16. Corti (MV Agusta) 1'33.119

17. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'33.635

18. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'33.996

19. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'34.279

20. May (EBR) 1'34.640

21. Toth (BMW) 1'35.117

22. Walters (Kawasaki) 1'35.810

23. Yates (EBR) 1'36.338

Kenan Sofuoglu race action shot

World Supersport:

After the poor conditions of the first free practice, the weather conditions had improved considerably by the early afternoon at Phillip Island, allowing World Supersport riders to take to the track and get up to speed in today's second session. The protagonists of the series did not waste any time in finding their rhythm in almost perfect conditions, with three time WSS Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) setting the pace throughout the 45 minutes. The Turk suffered a technical problem down the main straight in the late stages, but the 1'33.618 lap time was quick enough for him to keep the top spot.

Scotsman Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) showed good form aboard his YZF-R6 as he claimed second place ahead of Core PTR Honda's Raffaele De Rosa, who impressed by climbing the time-sheets in the final minutes.

2014 World Supersport rider group photo

Fourth place Michael van der Mark found himself on the gravel after crashing out of turn 9, whilst trying to elevate himself to first. Because of the fall and the damage done to his bike, the young Dutchman lost some precious time, but managed to return to the track with seven minutes left before the checkered flag, although was unable to better the lap he had set before the crash.

Returning WSS rider Jules Cluzel continued his adaptation to the F3 675 as he ended up fifth, whilst sixth place PJ Jacobsen missed the chance for a top 3 finish as he crashed unhurt at turn 11 towards the end of the session. Other late crashers Fabio Menghi,  Kevin Wahr and local rider Bryan Staring ended up 11th,12th and 13th respectively, none of them hurt after falling.

Irishman Jack Kennedy did not get onto the track as he was declared unfit to ride.

FP2 times:

1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'33.618 average 170.929 kph

2. Coghlan (Yamaha) 1'34.263

3. De Rosa (Honda) 1'34.277

4. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'34.294

5. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 1'34.337

6. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 1'34.366

7. Wilairot (Honda) 1'34.526

8. Marino (Kawasaki) 1'34.721

9. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 1'34.729

10. Leonov (MV Agusta) 1'34.833

11. Menghi (Yamaha) 1'34.854

12. Wahr (Yamaha) 1'35.072

13. Staring (Honda) 1'35.109

14. Zanetti (Honda) 1'35.140

15. Gowland (Triumph) 1'35.195

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