Reigning champion supreme in opening WorldSBK Free Practice but 11 riders are within a second of his pace!
The opening MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship session started under warm, cloudy conditions and reigning champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) got his campaign off to a great start. Teammate Leon Haslam joined him at the sharp end, with both Kawasaki riders in the leading two positions for the opening 20 minutes. ‘Pocket Rocket’ Leon Haslam was 3rd overall but suffered technical problems at turn one in the latter half of the session.
Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) began his 2019 WorldSBK campaign with a solid start, running in 3rd place for most of the session. In the closing five minutes, the Spaniard jumped to 2nd and under a tenth behind Rea. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was outside of the top ten and has work to do, 0.993s from the top and was only 11th at the chequered flag.
2013 WorldSBK Champion Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and teammate Markus Reiterberger enjoyed a successful first day at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. The BMW S1000RR pairing finished in fourth and sixth respectively and carry great momentum forward into FP2.
Leon Camier led Honda’s charge (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) and was placed seventh, a vast improvement on his testing position. Teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari reacquainted himself to the Australian asphalt for the first time in 10 years and placed 16th, with strong first sectors often predicting him with top-five pace.
Sandro Cortese was a surprise onboard his Yamaha (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) running top Yamaha almost all the opening session of 2019. The reigning WorldSSP champion finished 0.509 away from Rea; an impressive achievement for the Rookie and was 5th. Teammate Marco Melandri seemingly struggled to regain and was only 12th.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was another rider who wasn´t able to reach the potential he had shown in testing, with eighth place being his position for the session. Teammate Michael van der Mark languished outside the top ten for most of the session but finished 8th with a quick lap at the end. Work to do for the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team ahead of FP2.
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) was a top ten runner on his Kawasaki, with a lap time under a second away from session leader Rea.
You can follow all of the action from the Yamaha Finance Australian Round with our WorldSBK VideoPass here!