My article for ThePitCrewOnline for World Superbike Testing at Philip Island
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 performance 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 seasons 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 brought with it numerous incidents and red flags. Despite being top of the board yesterday, Scott Redding seemed to be saving his pace until the last ten minutes when he was just pipped to the top post by Toprak Razgatlioglu closely followed by Loris Baz.
Michael van der Mark finished fourth, Chaz Davies was not in the top ten during the afternoon but found his pace at the end and finished fifth. Finishing the top six was Leon Haslam setting his fastest lap time during testing at Portimao. Haslam’s team mate, Alvaro Bautista, finished down in 15th.
Both the independent GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team riders, Federico Caricasulo and his teammate Garrett Gerloff finished a very respectable ninth and tenth respectively.
Although both the BMW Motorrad riders, Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty finished in the top six on Day One, they were knocked down to seventh and eighth on Day Two despite having a good day of testing.
Unofficial top six lap times from day two:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM) 1’40.804
2. Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +0.079
3. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.190
4. Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM) +0.622
5. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +0.795
6. Leon Haslam (HRC Team) +0.851
The WSBK teams will be jetting off to Phillip Island in Australia next for the final round of testing just before the start of the season. This is shaping up to be really exciting.