Carlos Checa fastest at Phillip Island pre-season test. Surprise! Er, not really
Carlos Checa put his 'ancient' Althea Ducati in 'pole' position at the end of day two of the three day Phillip Island test, relegating yesterday's fastest rider, Tom Sykes to second sport on his Factory Kawasaki.
Yes, we are going to say it: "Sykes with a lot to smile about." Well, it is true.
As we reported yesterday
, reigning World superbike champion Checa has previous good form at the Australian circuit, recording the fastest times here last year and winning the opening races of the 2011 season. It's hard to see anyone dislodging him this time, though it is heartening to see that both Kawasakis are looking consistent – as are the Aprilias of Max Biaggi
and new Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty
The Kawasaki times from both riders are particularly cheering, since it suggests that the bike is working for both Sykes and Lascorz, who have very different riding styles and set-ups on their ZX-10Rs. In addition, it seems to suggest that Lascorz is now fully fit and recovered from a World supersport crash at Silverstone in 2010 which almost killed him (though it was under reported at the time).
Also worth noting that Sylvian Guintoli, the third Effenbert Ducati rider was missing, having contracted the mother of all colds/ or a bad case of man flu. And a special mention goes to British superstock and superbike privateer Dave 'DJ' Johnson (who is of course an Australian), doing a more than respectable job on a privateer BMW S1000RR using a totally stock engine after the race lump developed problems. Yes, that's right, a bog stock BMW engine recording those times on the same track as factory backed superbikes. Hats off to DJ. Or should that be 'Fair dinkum mate'?
With another day to go, we're betting that King Carlos will go a little bit quicker yet on the Ducati (and no, it's not the new Panigale
which won't be raced in any national superbike class in 2012) but the rest will be closer to him than they were at the same time last year.
Also, we'll see the name of Josh Brookes appear on the timing sheets as the Aussie fills in for the injured John Hopkins at Fixi Crescent Suzuki.
World Superbike test, Phillip Island. Day 2, February 13, 2012
1 Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati): 1’32.1;
2 Tom Sykes (Kawasaki): 1’32.2;
3 Max Biaggi (Aprilia): 1’32.3;
4 Eugene Laverty (Aprilia): 1’32.5;
5 Joan Lascorz (Aprilia): 1’32.5;
6 Leon Haslam (BMW): 1’32.6;
7 Marco Melandri (BMW): 1’33.0;
8 Jakub Smrz (Effenbert Ducati): 1’33.2;
9 Maxime Berger (Effenbert Ducati): 1’33.3;
10 Ayrton Badovini (BMW Italia): 1’33.6;
11 Davide Giugliano (Althea Ducati): 1’33.7;
12 Michel Fabrizio (BMW Italia): 1’33.9;
13 Leon Camier (Fixi Suzuki): 1’33.9;
14 David Johnson (BMW): 1’34.7;
15 David Salom (Kawasaki): 1’34.9;
16 Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Ducati): 1’35.2