At Phillip Island
The countdown has begun for the start of the 2009 Superbike season, with the teams already hard at work at Phillip Island, where the season gets underway on March 1.
The first to arrive were Aprilia who have three test days planned from Monday 16
to Wednesday 18, together with the factory Kawasaki team, Honda Stiggy and Honda Althea.
On Saturday and Sunday it will be the turn of Ducati, Yamaha, Bmw, Suzuki and Honda Ten Kate.
In their last test at Portimao, Aprilia had a few teething problems but these now appear to have been resolved. On the second day Shinya Nakano set a quickest time of 1'33"1, just six tenths away from the best time set by 2008 Australian Round double winner Troy Bayliss. The same time was also recorded by the surprising Règis Laconi (photo), who has switched from Kawasaki this year to a private DFX Ducati 1098RS.
The Frenchman was on the pace right out of the box, and was also quick over the distance. Max Biaggi, quickest on Monday, today had a crash at the Honda curve while trying to improve his time of 1'33"7. The Italian was unhurt, but his bike suffered slight damage.
Britain's Leon Haslam began his SBK season in the Honda Stiggy team with a promising 1'34"1, while the two factory Kawasakis of Makoto Tamada (1'34"9) and Broc Parkes (1'35"4) were slightly off the pace, their ZX10-R F9 machines still in need of further development.
Supersport testing has also been getting underway. Today there were four riders out on the track, the quickest being Aussie Anthony West (Honda Stiggy) in 1'36"2 ahead of his team-mate Gianluca Vizziello (1'36"7). Good times were also recorded by the two new Honda Althea riders: Mark Aitchison set a time of 1'36"7, Matthieu Lagrive 1'36"9.
The official Supersport record is 1'34"976, set by Sèbastien Charpentier (Honda Ten Kate) in the 2007 race.