Getting in gear: Phillip Island hosts final pre-season test

Friday, 17 February 2017 09:52 GMT

2017 is just around the corner

WorldSBK  Countdown is on and the season opener draws ever closer as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads to the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit for their two day official test.

For the first time since the final round of 2016 in Qatar, all teams and riders will be present on track and it should provide a taste of what is set to come for the eagerly awaited new season. With two full days of action around the stunning Australian circuit, it is the perfect way to tickle taste buds ahead of the weekend.

Four two hour sessions await riders next week, and the Kawasaki Racing Team will hope to end this test in true KRT style – on top. Following a strong and strict winter testing regime, the pair of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes will hope to iron out some final issues before they head into the opening race of the season. But they will face stiff competition from team-mates Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati), who heading into 2017 with a strong package behind them.

Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team have a big challenge ahead, with Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl taking to the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 for only the third time before the lights go out on the season. Jordi Torres had a difficult preseason after suffering a crash at the Jerez test, which rendered him unfit to ride at Portimao. His teammate Markus Reiterberger held the fort for the Althea BMW Racing Team at the Portimao test, getting in some solid testing laps to further make the step towards the podium aboard his S 1000 RR.

Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) head into the Phillip Island test confident with the modifications they were able to make from the 2016 machine. Lone MV Agusta recruit Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will be looking to secure his package for the season ahead, and make any final changes around the challenging Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

World Supersport will also gain the advantage of the two day test, of which all riders will be present and able to understand which conditions they are set to face. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will be hoping to test his fitness following the injuries sustained over the winter, alongside Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who will be making his team debut aboard the Kawasaki ZX-6R.

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda will continue with their testing plan along with their three riders; Jules Cluzel, Robin Mulhauser and Hikari Okubo as they aim to be championship fighters for the season ahead. Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will be progressing and working through any issues with his new machine for the season, whilst the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team will hope to understand their level of pace in Australia with Federico Caricasulo and Lucas Mahias.

Keep up with all the WorldSBK and WorldSSP test action on from Monday 20th – Tuesday 21st February.