Predictions that the third round of the Superbike World Championship, presented by Vodacom, will provide the fastest motorcycle racing ever seen at AA Kyalami, are being backed up by some stunning pre-season test sessions. Booking is open at ...
Predictions that the third round of the Superbike World Championship, presented by Vodacom, will provide the fastest motorcycle racing ever seen at AA Kyalami, are being backed up by some stunning pre-season test sessions.
Booking is open at Computicket with the WSBK brigade this year joined at AA Kyalami from April 5 to 7 by the Supersport and Superside Sidecar World Championships. Gate entry is R50, R60 and R170, prices include VAT but exclude a Computicket handling fee for April 5, 6 and 7 respectively, with those who buy tickets in February eligible for a 10 per cent discount.
Three teams– Ducati LM, the factory Ducati Infostrada team and Castrol Honda– held private test sessions at AA Kyalami during December and January. All indications point to riders Ben Bostrom, world champion Troy Bayliss and former world champion Colin Edwards posting lap times quicker than Bostrom’s stunning one minute 41,689 second lap set in the Superpole qualifying last year.
Indications are that all three riders were also consistently under the fastest race lap of one minute 42,928 seconds set by Bostrom last year. All three teams have been cagey about making public lap times set during the test, but in website interviews Bayliss and Edwards have let slip snippets which indicate that existing AA Kyalami lap records will again take a battering.
“ I was happy to go faster than 2001 qualifying times,” said world champion Bayliss.“ It was a good outing.”
Edwards, who has a liking for both South Africa and AA Kyalami, completed 274 laps in four days of testing.“ We weren’t here to beat track records, but our times on the final day were inside the lap record,” said the Texan.
“ We have found a very good rear tyre, and the test went well.”
Edwards and British rider Mark Heckles, on the Castrol Honda Rumi entry, will spearhead the Japanese challenge against Ducati and Aprilia this year. The American will be keen to win back the world championship, and the Honda versus Ducati battle will be a feature of this year’s WSBK series.
In other test news popular Pierfrancesco Chili, back on an Italian motorcycle with the Ducati NCR team after a spell with the Alstare Suzuki squad, set the quickest times at a recent Valencia – which hosts the opening round of the championship on March 10 - test session. The Italian then blotted his copybook with a crash that left him with concussion and a bruised kidney and shoulder.
There will be an additional bonus for motorcycle enthusiasts at AA Kyalami on April 4 with a Free Paddock promotions. Fans will be able to meet teams and riders from the Superbike, Supersport and Superside Sidecar world championships, with autograph and poster sessions forming part of the proceedings.