PIRELLI Supports Pre-Race Superbike Tests From Down Under Phillip Island, Australia

Phillip Island (Australia) – February 22, 2010 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – This weekend’s activities at the Phillip Island Circuit beside the Southern Ocean served as a pre-race test for the Superbike and Supersport riders to acclimate to their new bikes and for some, to learn the circuit before next week’s race.  It is a much needed official test for PIRELLI, since a test in Australia is logistically more difficult to organize, being that PIRELLI and each team’s equipment needs to be shipped from Europe. The two day testing session saw performance gains primarily derived from new compounds brought for each of the classes, along with work on new profiles which are made specific for this track.

Seven of the participating Superbike riders and three manufacturers surpassed the fastest lap of last year’s race made by Noriyuki Haga, true evidence to the success of this testing weekend.  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) circled the track with the best time over the two days, a 1’31.650, which brings him within a half second of the Best Lap for the Australian circuit set by Regis Laconi with a qualifier in 2009. The Althea Racing team of Shane Byrne (Ducati) and Carlos Checa (Ducati) also posted lap times in the 31’ mark at just 0.012 and 0.349 seconds behind.  Lean Haslam and his new Suzuki ride along with and of Jonathan Rea (Honda) found their spots in the top ten at fifth and seventh fastest, demonstrating a level of talent in Superbike that makes the results of next week’s race truly unpredictable.

“We came here with our full team of technicians to gather feedback from all the Superbike and Supersport pilots, and we have taken home some valuable data regarding compound and profile solutions which we may utilize this season. Phillip Island is a tough circuit whose conditions can change by the hour, but PIRELLI has brought ample range of solutions for the race which can offer a spectacular race next weekend.” Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto

The nearly 2100 PIRELLI test tyres shipped via ocean container this past January, packed with 7 new solutions of both new compounds and new larger profiles which may serve as references for highly unique tracks like Phillip Island.  The PIRELLI staff present in Phillip Island for this test included compound experts and the regular team technicians for both the Superbike and Supersport classes. PIRELLI looks forward to the exciting races next week which should prove to be faster following this organized test with all teams involved.

Day 1:

AIR HUMIDITY 67% AIR TEMPERATURE 26°C
TRACK CONDITION Dry TRACK TEMPERATURE 43°C

Opening day at the Phillip Island Circuit in Australia was blessed with sunny weather but with a track marred with rubber left from track activities the day before.  Taking the seat of Max Neukirchner on the Team Suzuki Alstare bike, Leon Haslam showed he is in top shape for the season making the best time of 1’32.484 on his twenty-eighth lap of the session.  The day was spent gathering feedback on new compounds meant to offer more durability, especially to manage the tyres’ extreme temperatures and lean angles incurred in turn twelve before the front straight.

Yamaha’s team spent the day working on the setup for their two new riders Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland, the latter whom has just arrived from MotoGP and must adjust to the different chassis of Superbikes.

Sunday – Test Results – Superbike

Pos. Rider Bike Team Lap time
1 C. Checa Ducati 1098R Althea Racing 1’31.959
2 M. Fabrizio Ducati 1098R Ducati Xerox Team +0.390
3 L. Haslam Suzuki GSX-R1000 Team Suzuki Alstare 0.525
4 N. Haga Ducati 1098R Ducati Xerox Team 0.559
5 J. Rea Honda CBR1000RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda 0.585

Day 2:

AIR HUMIDITY 63% AIR TEMPERATURE 16°C
TRACK CONDITION Dry TRACK TEMPERATURE 22°C

The rain which fell on the track on Monday in the early morning hours left the track damp for the opening sessions, leaving the pilots unable to push to the maximum. The four Ducati machines of Fabrizio, Byrne, Checa and Haga seemed to manage the drying track well, with the best morning session time of 1’31.650 set by Fabrizio, nearly 0.2 seconds below the fastest race time for Phillip Island and just a half second above last year’s qualifying time. The new DIABLO SUPERBIKE tyres showed a consistency among all seven Superbike manufacturers as each posted times less than 1.5 secs from the leader.

When PIRELLI’s various development solutions were dispersed to the teams during the second day of testing, 18 of the 24 pilots posted their fastest times of the weekend, with as much as a one second improvement from Byrne (Ducati) and Camier (Aprilia). Although these solutions will not be those used in the races next weekend, a promising result of the performances and development process needed for the diverse conditions of the Phillip Island track were confirmed.

Monday – Test Results – Superbike

Pos. Rider Bike Team Lap Time
1 M. Fabrizio Ducati 1098R Ducati Xerox Team 1’31.650
2 S. Byrne Ducati 1098R Althea Racing +0.012
3 J. Smrz Ducati 1098R Team PATA B&G Racing 0.150
4 C. Checa Ducati 1098R Althea Racing 0.349
5 J. Rea Honda CBR1000RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda 0.525

Final Times – Superbike

Pos. Rider Bike Team Time
1 M. Fabrizio Ducati 1098R Ducati Xerox Team 1’31.650
2 S. Byrne Ducati 1098R Althea Racing +0.012
3 J. Smrz Ducati 1098R Team PATA B&G Racing 0.150
4 C. Checa Ducati 1098R Althea Racing 0.349
5 J. Rea Honda CBR1000RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda 0.525
6 N. Haga Ducati 1098R Ducati Xerox Team 0.597
7 L. Haslam Suzuki GSX-R1000 Team Suzuki Alstare 0.629
8 M. Biaggi Aprilia RSV4-R Factory Aprilia Alitalia Racing 0.824
9 L. Camier Aprilia RSV4-R Factory Aprilia Alitalia Racing 0.971
10 M. Neukirchner Honda CBR1000RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda 1.041

Day 1:

AIR HUMIDITY 67% AIR TEMPERATURE 26°C
TRACK CONDITION Dry TRACK TEMPERATURE 43°C

For the seventeen Supersport pilots who made the trip to Phillip Island, the test sessions are an opportunity to improve the existing options of PIRELLI’s DIABLO SUPERCORSA SC tyres.  With the absence of Yamaha as an official team for the Supersport class, the opening Supersport sessions were led by Ten Kate Honda, Kawasaki Motocard.com and Team Lorenzini (Kawasaki). Kenan Sofuoglu was anxious to show that Ten Kate is back in form, finishing the day with a 1’34.691, followed by Japanese rider Fujiwara (Kawasaki), who seemed to be bolted to the track in every corner.  Fujiwara’s long-run tests showed a consistency of grip throughout the session and his tyre selection has confirmed the available solutions for the race.  Triumph Triumph were made by track record holder Sebastien Charpentier, with his fellow riders in toe.

Sunday – Test Results – Supersport

Pos. Rider Bike Team Lap time
1 K. Sofuoglu Honda CBR600RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda 1’34.691
2 K. Fujiwara Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Motocard.com +0.351
3 J. Lascorz Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Motocard.com 0.694
4 M. Pirro Honda CBR600RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda 0.845
5 F. Foret Kawasaki ZX-6R Team Lorenzini by Leoni 0.917

Day 2:

AIR HUMIDITY 63% AIR TEMPERATURE 16°C
TRACK CONDITION Dry TRACK TEMPERATURE 22°C

The final testing session of the weekend was made by the Supersport riders, and it was the Kawasaki of Joan Lascorz who ended up on top with a 1’34.374, within reach of Charpentier’s track record, who closed the day in the eighth spot. The HANNspree Ten Kate Honda of Kenan Sofuoglu registered a time just 0.2 seconds behind Lascorz, even though his setup was not ideal for the tyre selection and will need to be adjusted before the race on Sunday. His teammate Pirro (Honda) found in the spot in the top five, who looks to be adjusting to his new team very well.  The privateer squad of Parkalgar Honda, with last year’s Supersport vice-champion Eugene Laverty continued the impressive results found during tests in Portimão with third fastest for the class.

Phillip Island represents a very difficult formula for Supersport testing, as its very old asphalt, varying temperatures and distance from the headquarters of most teams makes it both a challenging and expensive proposition.  This year’s testing activities have opened up new projects which shall no doubt continue at the European tests at Imola, as well as throughout the year during each race weekend.

Monday – Test Results – Supersport

Pos. Rider Bike Team Lap time
1 J. Lascorz Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Motocard.com 1’35.577
2 K. Sofuoglu Honda CBR600RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda +0.213
3 F. Foret Kawasaki ZX-6R Team Lorenzini by Leoni 0.691
4 M. Pirro Honda CBR600RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda 0.834
5 E. Laverty Honda CBR600RR Parkalgar Honda 0.855

Final Times – Supersport

Pos. Rider Bike Team Lap time
1 J. Lascorz Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Motocard.com 1’34.374
2 K. Sofuoglu Honda CBR600RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda +0.317
3 E. Laverty Honda CBR600RR Parkalgar Honda 0.379
4 M. Pirro Honda CBR600RR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda 0.419
5 K. Fujiwara Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Motocard.com 0.620
6 F. Foret Kawasaki ZX-6R Team Lorenzini by Leoni 0.686
7 M. Roccoli Honda CBR600RR Intermoto Czech 1.005
8 S. Charpentier Triumph Daytona 675 ParkinGO Triumph BE1 1.361
9 R. Harms Honda CBR600RR Harms Benjan Racing 1.384
10 D. Salom Triumph Daytona 675 ParkinGO BE1 Triumph 1.390

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