Aprilia and Honda fastest on Friday to lead the charge towards the first qualifying sessions of the year
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) stole the headlines and the timesheets on Day 1 of the Yamaha Finance Australian Round, leading the charge to Tissot-Superpole 2 with a 1:30.407 set in FP2 to go fastest overall. Behind the Noale factory machine at the top, Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) took P2 for Honda as he debuts with the Japanese marque, just clear of the second Aprilia machine of Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia).
With early morning drizzle, a dry FP2 and then rain once again in the afternoon ahead of the final session of the day, track conditions changed throughout Day 1 but did end dry. Regardless, the best laptime set by Savadori in FP2 remained at the top of the timesheets, unthreatened.
Behind the Aprilia-Honda-Aprilia lockout at the top, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) took fourth and was the fastest Kawasaki machine, just under a tenth faster than teammate and reigning champion Jonathan Rea. Rea was the first on the timesheets to set his quickest effort of the day in FP3, moving up a couple of places towards the end of play. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) finished up the first track action of the race weekend in P6 after topping a damp FP1, just ahead of 2014 WorldSSP Champion Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), who was the fastest Yamaha.
Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) led a trio of riders who improved in FP3 as he ended the day in P8, just ahead of fellow Panigale rider Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten, with the Brit having crashed in FP2 on his first flying lap but able to get back out in FP3 and secure his place in Tissot-Superpole 2.
Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was the man to just get pushed out, but the American made a solid debut at the track despite a crash late on Friday from which he escaped unscathed. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was P12 and will be another rider pushing hard to move through from Tissot-Superpole 1 on Saturday – with Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Friday crasher Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) waiting in the wings to try and make it every manufacturer in the top 12 on the grid.
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