World champion, Jonathan Rea, has completed the final WorldSBK pre-season test at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit with the fastest time, ahead of the opening Yamaha Finance round of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship starting this Friday.
After completing day one in third position, Rea shot his Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10RR straight to the top today, with his best lap 1m30.598 across the two-day eight-hour shakedown. Rea, the three-times world champion, said windy conditions over the test had made development a little challenging, with his team focused on sorting a new Pirelli rear tyre, produced for 2018.
Rea’s form is a warning to his rivals that despite a rev limit handicap on his Kawasaki in 2018, designed to produce closer racing in the production-based series, the new world champion is ready to kick-start where he left off an all-conquering 2017. Last year, he took the double at the Phillip Island opener – a circuit he now considers his home track.
Italian Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing Ducati, 1:30.726) was second fastest overall in the 22-rider gathering, ahead of Rea’s teammate Tom Sykes (1:30.804), Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia, 1:31.074) and privateer Xavi Fores (Barni Ducati, 1:31.076).
Next in line were Pata Yamaha teamsters Michael van der Mark (1:31.131) and Alex Lowes (1:31.370), followed by Leon Camier (1:31.537) on his Red Bull Honda.
Rea, van der Mark and Fores all crashed on day two, but escaped with injury.
World No.2 Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) had a low-key build-up to round one, finishing the test in 11th position.
The Australian wild cards were all on the improve today, with Honda’s Troy Herfoss the best Aussie performer – 16th fastest with a 1:32.297s. Twice Australian superbike champion, veteran Wayne Maxwell was 19th fastest overall on his Yamaha with a 1:32.651 s best time; while new team mate, young Adelaide rider Daniel Falzon put his Yamaha 21st on the test time sheets with a two day best of 1:32.828s.
Any fine-tuning for the WorldSBK brigade will now have to take place when practice begins on Friday, ahead of final qualifying and race one on Saturday.
Race two will be held on Sunday, just after the WorldSSP race featuring three Kawasaki-riding Aussies: Anthony West, Tom Toparis and Lachlan Epis.
The opening round of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Yamaha Finance round will feature the 22-lap WorldSBK races on Saturday and Sunday, the 18-lap WorldSSP race on Sunday, and 12 national support races during the weekend across superbike, supersport, supersport 300 and YMF R3 Cup. Aussie WorldSBK icon Troy Bayliss will make his racing comeback in superbike.
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World Superbikes is super affordable with a 3 Day General Admission ticket just $120^. In an absolute first for World Superbikes at the Island, all 3 Day ticket holders in 2018 gain FREE Paddock access.
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Step it up a notch in Bar SBK for only $260 and capture all of the exhilarating action from the circuit’s optimum viewing locations or opt for a VIP Hospitality package.
And as always with World Superbikes Kids 15 & under are FREE**
Pre-purchase ticket sales close Wednesday February 21 at 4:00pm. Buy early and save or get your tickets at the gate from 8am Friday, Saturday and Sunday of race weekend.
Nothing beats World Superbikes…Live At The Island.
For more information contact the circuit on the toll free World Superbike Hotline 1300 728 007 or www.worldsbk.com.au
*All ticket prices quoted purchased in advance and subject to Ticketek processing fee.
**Children 15 and under are free and must be accompanied by a paying adult.