Neukirchner Leads Aussie Test

Cycle News Staff | February 21, 2009

Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner was the fastest of the 11 World Superbike riders who were testing at Phillip Island in Australia today, with Suzuki, Ducati, Honda, Yamaha and BMW taking part in the final test leading up to next weekend’s season opener at Phillip Island.Neukirchner lapped at 1:32.5 on his 2009 GSX-R1000, besting the factory Ducati Xerox 1098RS of Michel Fabrizio. Fabrizio lapped at 1:32.7, though he didn’t complete as many laps as planned with a crash early in the afternoon setting him back. The second Suzuki, ridden by Yukio Kagayama, ended the day third fastest with a time virtually equal to Fabrizio’s.Jonathan Rea was the fastest of the Honda men at the test, the Ten Kate CBR1000RR-mounted Brit just four tenths off Neukirchner’s best.Noriyuki Haga put his Ducati fifth, the Japanese rider also falling from his 1098RS during the day.For the first time thus far in the off-season, Brit Tom Sykes was able to best his factory Yamaha teammate Ben Spies, though only by a tenth of a second as the pair made their debut at the Australian circuit. The two Yamaha men were sixth and seventh, respectively. Then came Ten Kate’s Carlos Checa, the Spaniard leading BMW’s Troy Corser, his Ten Kate teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari and the second BMW ridden by Ruben Xaus.Checa and Corser were also crash victims on the day with Checa suffering a concussion in his crash that may keep him out of action for the rest of the test.

Lap Times1.      Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1:32.52.      Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:32.73.      Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki) 1:32.74.      Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:32.95.      Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) 1:33.06.      Tom Sykes (Yamaha) 1:33.27.      Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:33.38.      Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:33.39.      Troy Corser (BMW) 1:33.810.  Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 1:34.011.  Ruben Xaus (BMW) 1:34.3