Photography By: Gold & Goose
Althea Racing Ducati’s Carlos Checa picked up pace and put in a 1: 32.2 lap on a dry and warm second day of World Superbike testing in Australia. The World Champion got down to more work on his overall race set-up today, and it paid off, despite an early health scare that he quickly recovered from.
“I did not have a good night last night, suffering from indigestion, and I lost time in the morning,” Checa said. “We continued with our plan later in the day and we found a good set-up with front suspension, which I like probably better than our standard. We took more time than normal to confirm that the feeling was right and we did the job today that we planned yesterday.”
Checa put the relative lack of outright pace compared to his best-ever testing pace of 1: 30.578, down to the track condition (asphalt temperatures were reasonably high today) and the tires that were available at this private test.
“Remember that lap [in 2011 testing] was after three days of testing, when my bike had six kilos [over 12 pounds] less,” Checa said. “I cannot feel the extra weight, but sure there is something, maybe in this track not so much, because there are only two places with hard acceleration and hard braking, but to have six more kilos in the bike is something that penalizes us, but I do not know how much. To have six more kilos certainly does not help!”
Like many teams and riders, Checa was trying out their machines with regular starters, not gas-powered starters, in readiness for the single-bike rule.
“It is impossible to start our bike by bumping it alone,” said Checa, referring to the idea that the electric starter would allow a stricken rider to get back on his bike and ride back to pit lane after a fall. Aprilia and BMW were also button electric starters, a la normal streetbikes.
Tom Sykes was the second fastest rider, by a tenth, as he once again put in consistent laps on his Kawasaki Racing Team official bike. Aprilia’s Max Biaggi stepped up his pace today and was himself only a tenth behind Sykes.
Biaggi’s new teammate Eugene Laverty and Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz set identical lap times of 1: 32.5, with Lascorz putting all the set-up data he compiled over these two days to good use right at the end. Laverty was reputed to have done a 1:33.8 with 30 laps on the same tire.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri were sixth and seventh fastest today, making progress on their works BMWs.
Sylvain Guintoli did not post any times as he has a nasty bout of flu, while David Salom’s crash from yesterday proved to be more irritating for the Pedercini Kawasaki rider than was first thought, as he hurt his right wrist – possibly fracturing his scaphoid. He will try to run again on the final day of the tests.
Local man Dave Johnson had to put a stock engine into his BMW today, but still improved his best time to a 1:34.7. One more day of unofficial testing remains.
With so much time on offer at these tests, and with more to come next week even before race weekend starts, some riders did not ride all day long, but in short bursts to conserve energy and their machines.
With John Hopkins out of the opening race of the year due to breaking a bone in his right hand in yesterday’s crash, Aussie star Josh Brookes will be drafted in to replace Hopkins. He is currently on his way to PI and hopes to ride on the final day of the tests. He is also down to replace Hopkins for the first round of the year, on February 26 at Phillip Island.
Day Two Best Times
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:32.1
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:32.2
3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:32.3
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1:32.5
5. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1:32.5
6. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:32.6
7. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1:33.0
8. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:33.2
9. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1:33.3
10. Ayrton Badovini (Kawasaki) 1:33.6