King Carlos lords it up in final IMS tests
Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 22 February, 2011 - Carlos Checa (Ducati Althea Racing) was quickest overall at the end of the four SBK official test sessions held at the Phillip Island circuit, after an assured performance from rider and team on the eve of the first round of the 2011 championship. On his Ducati 1098R the Spaniard, who won one of the races here in Australia last year, put a gap of over half-a-second between himself and second-placed man Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati Effenbert - Liberty Racing). Checa was under the previous track best in the third session of the two days, posting a new record of 1 minute 30.578s.
Carlos Checa: "It was a very positive test and a fantastic lap time. I was a bit worried before because I had not done so much testing and I arrived here and was not sure if we had enough time on the bike. During the winter I did a race, then I went to the desert, then some motocross, and it was all a bit confusing. Portugal testing was not so positive because of the weather, so I arrived here without the required full confidence. But we've been able to grow up very quick from the first day, the pace of the bike at this track is good, I feel very close with the team and that's why I'm in this position."
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda), who crashed in the early stages of the last session, finished the tests third fastest but he was taken by helicopter to hospital for an X-ray on his left wrist and the ring finger of his left hand. His crash left a residue of cement dust on the racing line and this contributed to the fact that only few riders were able to improve their best times in the final session, though most tried hard to do so.
Fourth quickest overall was Jakub Smrz (Ducati Effenbert - Liberty Racing), followed by WSB rookie Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) who made an impressive debut on a Superbike machine in Australia.
Reigning champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) was one of the few whose best time of the two days came in the final session, placing him sixth quickest overall. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) was seventh best in the rankings, Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) eighth and his team-mate Eugene Laverty ninth. Laverty completed a whopping 142 laps of the 4.445km circuit over these two days.
A strong showing for the new Kawasaki Superbike machine saw Tom Sykes join his fellow KRT rider Lascorz in the top ten. Top S1000RR rider in testing was Leon Haslam, in 14th place on his official BMW Motorrad Motorsport bike. Wildcard rider Joshua Waters, a recent Aussie Superbike champion, finished an impressive 12th on his Yoshimura Suzuki machine.
Several crashes marked the final stages of the two-and-a-half hour session. Fabrizio, Melandri, Sykes and Lascorz all went down as they attempted to get final information, or improve their lap times, before the end of this busy two-day test session. The riders now have two days off before track action begins again in qualifying, on Friday 25 February.
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) stayed on the top slot by just a fraction as the World Supersport runners completed their four testing sessions at Phillip Island. The Frenchman was put under pressure throughout by an impressive Broc Parkes on the Kawasaki Motocard.com machine. David Salom on the second Kawasaki was a further two-tenths behind but held on to the place from youngster Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who set one really quick lap but continues to look for repeatable race pace in his rookie season.
Britain's Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) was next up, recovering pace and confidence after a big crash on day one, followed by Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Bike Service) in sixth. Luca Scassa was the first Yamaha ParkinGO man in the timesheets, in seventh with Chaz Davies a further five places down. Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) was eighth, while Danilo Dell'Omo was the first Triumph in the timesheets in tenth, putting all four competing manufacturers inside the top ten.
James Ellison rode again today despite his high-speed fall on day one and the Englishman will go in for an operation on his left knee tomorrow, to allow him to race on Sunday. Aussie rider Mitchell Pirotta (Kuja Honda) scored a 23rd best time for his home race.