The season-opening 2016 Motul Superbike World Championship roars into life today at Phillip Island with final qualifying (12.30-1.10pm) before the first 22-lap WorldSBK race scheduled for 3:00pm.
Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli was the fastest in practice yesterday, ahead of Honda’s Dutch flyer Michael van der Mark and world champion Jonathan Rea on a Kawasaki. Aussie pair Mike Jones (Ducati) and Josh Brookes (BMW Motorrad) were 15th and 18th.
There will be one more WorldSBK practice session this morning before the Superpole qualifying shootout begins at 12:30pm with two separate 15-minute sessions.
The 24 riders will then be let loose for the start of the 29th edition of the production-based series, with Rea looking to become the first rider to retain the WorldSBK title since Carl Fogarty in 1999.
The world supersport grid will also be decided via a Superpole-style arrangement, but they will they be put on ice until their 18-lap race at 1:30pm tomorrow. Seven Aussies are in WorldSSP, with two-time Moto2 GP winner Anthony West leading the way on his Yamaha.
Today’s schedule at Phillip Island also includes six support races in superbike, supersport, Moto3/125 GP and historics.
Update From Saturday Morning World Superbike Practice
In WorldSBK practice this morning, Jones (#46) and San Marino rider Alex De Angelis (#15) both crashed in separate accidents but were given the all-clear by the circuit’s medical centre.
Rea was the fastest in the short 15-minute session from Ducati’s Chaz Davies, van der Mark, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) and Nicky Hayden (Honda). Jones was eighth as he set his best ever lap around Phillip Island, and Brookes was 13th.