WSBK: Bautista still the man to beat at Phillip Island

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Simon, Feb 22, 2019.

  1. Simon

    Simon Professional storyteller
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    Mar 25, 2015
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    The final session of the opening day Round One of the 2019 WSBK season concluded with Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista taking over at the top of combined times, ahead of Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and team-mate Leon Haslam, who finished in second and third positions.

    Bautista’s time was the fastest in the individual FP2 session. The Spaniard was once again quickest in the speed trap and was by far the fastest of the all-new Ducati Panigale V4 Rs. The Rookie set a blistering lap time of 1’30.327 to go ahead of Rea in the final minutes by just 0.014s. By comparison, Ducati team-mate Chaz Davies only managed 14th position overall.

    Bautista said: “Even though the main aim was not to set the quickest time, today was really positive and I’m very satisfied. We knew we had a good pace, so everything was possible. This morning we made a change to the set-up to try and improve the feeling from the tests at the start of the week, but we didn’t find what we expected. In addition, we tried a new spec of tyre which wasn’t at the test. In the afternoon we decided to work on race distance to verify tyre wear and all in all I’m happy. I’ve got an excellent feeling with the bike and I’m enjoying myself so we’ll try and continue like this tomorrow. As it’s my first race in Superbike many aspects are new to me, it’s not going to be easy but I hope to be able to fight with Rea.”

    Outside the top three, Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad) quietly went about his business, not troubling his lap time from FP1 in the session, remaining fourth overall. Teammate Markus Reiterberger also continued his development with the new BMW S1000RR but like Sykes, didn´t improve on his time with 20 minutes left, finishing in eighth overall and just over half a second off Bautista.

    Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) jumped up the order to fifth position, making amends for FP1. The Lincolnshire rider then continued to improve his lap times, consistently fast although he took a tumble in the middle of the session. Dutchman Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) also continued the theme of great improvement for Yamaha, although remained ninth.

    Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha) closed the day seventh on combined times for much of the session. Cortese has started to understand the YZF R1 much better over the course of testing and subsequently is up at the sharp end. Team-mate Marco Melandri continued to struggle, in 13th for most of the session.

    Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda) had a good session, consolidating his pace and moving up to sixth on the combined times.

    Completing the top ten was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), taking his Kawasaki to within 0.800s of the top time posted by Bautista.

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