In Phillip Island testing
Max Biaggi (Aprilia) set the quickest time in the Superbike test session that concluded yesterday at Phillip Island.
With just ten days to go before the start of the season, the Italian champion and the RSV4 have now reached a competitive
level and could be amongst the front-runners at the opening round.
After his crash on day 2, Biaggi completed 71 laps today, notching up a best time of 1 minute 32.59 seconds, just eight-hundredths of a second off Troy Bayliss's quickest race lap in 2008 on a Ducati.
"These three days have been very profitable", declared a not entirely satisfied Biaggi. "We completed every test possible with all the material available, in every condition and we know exactly the problems we are facing. Now is the time to make some important modifications, obviously not for the next race because that's impossible, but shortly after".
On the other RSV4 Shinya Nakano set a time of 1m32.72s, the Japanese rider today suffering a harmless crash. Another rider who crashed out today was the surprise of these tests, Règis Laconi, on a private DFX Ducati 1098RS. The French rider, who powered to an impressive 1m32.60s, fractured the ring finger of his left hand and after going to hospital for a check, resumed testing in the afternoon on his 1098, which in the meantime had been repaired in record time.
A major surprise came from Broc Parkes who got down to a time of 1m32.
90s on his Kawasaki ZX10R F09 machine: the Japanese manufacturer, present in Australia with nine engineers from the racing division, has taken full control of the situation and the results appear to be arriving sooner than expected.
The test was also positive for the Honda Stiggy team, which is making its WSBK debut this year. Leon Haslam set a time of 1m33.2s, with Roberto Rolfo close behind on 1m33.5s: the Italian covered almost 200 laps at Phillip Island and looks to have recovered from the recent shoulder injury that conditioned his form at the Portimao test.
The quickest of the four Supersport riders at Phillip Island was Australian Anthony West (Honda Stiggy) in 1m35.9s, while Gianluca Vizziello crashed out.
The final test session at Phillip Island takes place this Saturday and Sunday, with official teams from Ducati (Haga-Fabrizio), BMW (Corser-Xaus), Suzuki Alstare (Neukirchner-Kagayama), Honda Ten Kate (Checa-Kiyonari-Rea) and Yamaha (Spies-Sykes) in action.
Superbike : 1. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'32"59 (71 laps); 2. Laconi (Ducati) 1'32"60 (62); 3. Nakano (Aprilia) 1'32"72 (68); 4. Parkes (Kawasaki) 1'32"90 (70); 5. Haslam (Honda) 1'33"20 (65); 6. Hill (Honda) 1'33"30 (55); 7. Rolfo (Honda) 1'33"50 (95); 8. Tamada (Kawasaki) 1'33"90 (80)
Supersport : 1. West (Honda) 1'35"90; 2. Lagrive (Honda) 1'36"00; 3. Aitchison (Honda) 1'36"00; 4. Vizziello (Honda) 1'36"70