PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA, FEB. 21 – Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes started his World Superbike career off right by ending today’s practice sessions at Phillip Island on top of the timesheets.
The weather played a factor as mixed conditions earlier in the day had most of the riders siting out the first session. But as is typical with Phillip Island, if you don’t like the weather wait around five minutes and it will change. A much better second session allowed for the Superbike field to set their times of the day.
“Today was good,” Lowes said in a team release. “The wind was really bad and affecting the bike a lot, but we still made some progress in certain areas. I’m looking forward to going out tomorrow and confirming that it is definitely better when the weather’s more favorable. I really like Phillip Island; when a track is as windy as it’s been today it is hard to enjoy it, but I think it’s a great track, and I’m looking forward to the racing here. I still need to work hard to see if we can be in a good position for tomorrow and the race on Sunday, we have a lot of refinements still to do with the electronics and the suspension so we’ll put our heads together tonight and see what we can improve for tomorrow. “
And also as is typical with the World Superbike series, the top 11 are all within a second of Lowes. Following right behind Lowes was Marco Melandri, the Aprilia factory rider coming up just .037 of a second short. In third was Ducati’s Davide Giugliano with the reigning World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes in fourth on the factory Kawasaki.
While Eugene Laverty was right behind his teammate Lowes early on in the session, he ended up dropping back to finish in sixth. Bookending Laverty was Pata Honda teammates - Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam - finishing fifth and seventh, respectively.
Kawasaki’s Loris Baz was able to walk away from his third crash of the week (two during the two-day test earlier in the week) unhurt and finish the day in eighth.
Finishing in ninth was Chaz Davies who had a rough start to his season on the Ducati with a wicked highside at Lukey Heights. Davies was sent to the medical center after the crash for precautionary checks.
Rounding out the top 10 was the other factory Aprilia rider and last year’s race-one winner Sylvain Guintoli.
The two Americans on the Hero EBR team – Geoff May and Aaron Yates - finished the day 20th and 23rd, respectively.
And in the Supersport class, New Yorker PJ Jacobsen started his season off in sixth place - .748 of a second down from the fastest of the day Kenan Sofuoglu.
2014 Phillip Island Day One Combined Results
1. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 1:31.100
2. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1:31.137
3. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:31.205
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:31.395
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:31.436
6. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 1:31.448
7. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:31.533
8. Loriz Baz (Kawasaki) 1:31.637
9. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1:31.757
10. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:31.759
20. Geoff May (EBR) 1:34.640
23. Aaron Yates (EBR) 1:36.338