LIVE COVERAGE: Razgatlioglu and Bulega trade blows for Phillip Island lap record, a new rivalry for 2024?

Monday, 19 February 2024 22:16 GMT

The last test day before the season starts takes place today, with eight hours of testing for the full 23-rider grid on 'The Island'

The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is getting closer, but before racing resumes there's the small matter of the final test day of the off-season at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit ahead of the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. The WorldSBK field will get eight hours of testing today split into two sessions: Free Practice 1 from 09:10-13:10 Local Time (UTC+10) and Free Practice 2 from 13:40-17:30. After yesterday's rapid pace in WorldSSP, what sort of lap times will we see in WorldSBK?

17:40 - STEALING THE SHOW! Razgatlioglu dazzles to take over top spot right at the close of testing - a 1'28.511 is the new lap record in WorldSBK from testing at Phillip Island! And that stunning end brings us to a close of the minute-by-minute coverage! See you this weekend for the proper stuff!

17:35 - And he's done it again! A 1'28.585 for Bulega, now exactly 0.250s clear of the rest of the field

17:33 - BULEGAS IS FULL GAS! A stunning lap time of a 1'28.669 sees him go top with five minutes to go

17:32 - Bassani makes it two Kawasakis inside the top five and goes to P5

17:24 - WOW! Andrea Locatelli beats Bulega's lap time from FP1 to set a 1'28.835!

17:18 - A big lap time from Michael Ruben Rinaldi has put him top for now

17:10 - Toprak back to the top with a mighty 1'29.281 ahead of Alex Lowes

17:05 - Green flag and back underway again! Iannone improves in time but remains in P3 with just 0.025s covering him, Toprak and Bulega in P1

16:55 - Sixth red flag of the day with birds on the track

16:45 - Bulega takes over control at the top of the order, pipping Toprak

16:31 - Razgatlioglu goes top and demotes Iannone to P2. Toprak betters his time again and now sets a 1'29.428

16:20 - BANG! Iannone goes top and sets back-to-back 1'29.6s. Incredible consistency by 'The Maniac'. We currently have six riders within a tenth of the top time and 16 riders within a second of it... There's also been a crash for Sam Lowes at Turn 10 but he's on his way back to pitlane

16:16 - End of a long run for Bulega; he's fourth as it stands but has been consistently the rider to beat in the opening sector. Meanwhile, Rinaldi has gone up into P2 and van der Mark P4

16:11 - Personal best lap time of the day for Axel Bassani who moves up to P8, continuing to find his feet with the Kawasaki

16:06 - Bulega moves up to P4

16:00 - Race pace runs for Nicolo Bulega at the moment, he's currently in P7

15:50 - 'Petrux' is on top! He's just squeezed in ahead of 'Loka' with a 1'29.647

15:35 - Locatelli is on the pace! Multiple 1'29s during this run, he's lowered the time to beat to a 1'29.691. Sam Lowes has also gone second and is lapping consistently too

15:20 - Bautista is back out on track and has gone to P5; he towed Redding round on that lap and the #45 followed him in P6

15:13 - Petrucci moves up into P2 and is currently top Ducati. Toprak has moved up to go P3 just behind him, whilst completing three laps and heading back into the pits, Jonathan Rea

15:05 - Tito Rabat has fallen at Turn 4

15:05 - Bautista, Rea, Bulega and Iannone haven't entered the track yet with nearly 90 minutes gone of FP2. They were all crashers during FP1

15:03 - Andrea Locatelli is the first rider to bank a 1'29 this afternoon with a 1'29.720 to go top

14:40 - The heavyweights are on track now. Razgatlioglu, Alex Lowes and Scott Redding all venturing out as well as plenty more riders. Alex Lowes currently on top with a 1'30.059. Don't be surprised if times are slower this afternoon as teams really start to focus on long runs, race simulations and that all-important tyre management. In other news, confirmation that Alvaro Bautista suffered a crash at Turn 6 earlier in the morning session

14:32 - It's a Yamaha party at the moment as Dominique Aegerter makes his way out. It's important to remember that this test is the first for Domi this year, having been unwell at Jerez and Portimao

14.20 - More riders back on track now; Brad Ray and Remy Gardner

14:07 - Philipp Oettl is the first to hit the track; he suffered a technical issue earlier, so laps this afternoon are vital for the German

14:01 - No bikes on track yet but some news from this morning; Iker Lecuona will not take part in FP2 due to a shoulder injury sustained in his Turn 11 highside earlier on in FP1

13:40 - We're back underway on 'The Island' with FP2 for WorldSBK. No riders on the track just yet as the next four hours await!

13:10 - The chequered flag is waving to signal the end of FP1. Bulega ends the session on top which was red flagged four times for crashes for Rea and Lecuona, and technical issues for Gerloff and Oettl. Iannone is second, 0.111s slower than Bulega, with Razgatlioglu another tenth back. View the full results here. Track action resumes at 13:40 Local Time.

13:08 - With just a couple of minutes left in the session, Razgatlioglu improved his lap time to move into P3, two tenths slower than Bulega

12:57 - Iannone was pushing on his latest lap, setting a red sector one, but crashed at Turn 4

12:54 - Bulega is one of the riders who ventured out after the latest red flag, and he improved his time to a 1'28.890s

12:51 - The green flags are out again, and riders take to the track for the final 20 minutes of the session

12:44 - Red flag number four of the day, as Rea has crashed at Turn 11

12:43 - It's been a quieter period on track in terms of lap times, with a lot of riders staying in the box. There's just under half an hour to go until the end of FP1, and Bulega leads ahead of Iannone and Locatelli despite a crash at Turn 4 a short while ago; he rode his bike back to the pits. Sam Lowes has moved up to P5, while Bautista is P7

12:06 - Back to green flag conditions, with Sam Lowes and Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) heading out straight away

12:00 - The third red flag of the day is out as Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) has crashed at Turn 11. He's currently P16, 1.506s off the pace

11:40 - After that flurry of activity, track action has calmed down now. Most riders are in the box with 90 minutes of FP1 left. Bulega still leads ahead of Iannone and Locatelli. Bautista is 10th on his Ducati, with Rea in 12th

11:23 - Iannone's tried to get into the 1'28s along with Bulega, but missed out with a 1'29.001s. And on his next lap, he's faster than Bulega in the first three sectors, but loses ground in sector four

11:20 - Yes, it is! Nicolo Bulega ( Racing - Ducati) has just set a 1'28.962s, and improved in the first two sectors on his following lap. It's three tenths quicker than Sykes' pole lap record from 2020...

11:17 - A new name on top! Iannone's gone almost four tenths clear of Razgatlioglu after posting a 1'29.080s... is there a 1'28s lap coming soon?

11:15 - There's been a change at the top! Razgatlioglu's returned to P1, going 0.108s faster than former teammate Locatelli. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)'s now P3, while Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) is P4 - he's running the exhaust he had at the Jerez test, as opposed to the one from Portimao when he tried a new component

11:04 - Locatelli's put in a few quick laps and currently sits in first, after setting a 1'29.703s and then improving again to a 1'29.684s

10:55 - We're back to green flag conditions following the red flag

10:40 - Just before the red flag, Iannone improved his lap time to a 1'29.904s. The #29 is only 0.085s behind Razgatlioglu

10:34 - We have a second red flag of the day. Oettl's had technical problems with his bike

10:32 - Elsewhere, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) has joined the on-track party. The rookie, who will be working with Leon Camier as he joins the team as a rider coach, is P8 after setting a 1'30.846s

10:30 - Reigning Champion Bautista's hit the track and immediately moved into P3, 0.263s slower than Razgatlioglu... before going into second with a 1'30.079s, demoting Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) into third

10:26 - Some information from BMW: Razgatlioglu's lap time was done on the SC1 tyre, and they have the SC1 and SC0 available. Their plan for the day involves working on engine strategy, engine braking electronics and maybe some swingarms at the end of the day, as they have to decide which one of two to use, according to ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team's Shaun Muir, Team Principal at the team

10:21 - After the clean up operation following Gerloff's technical issue, the green flags are waving again and we're back underway

09:54 - We've got a red flag on track. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) has had a technical problem at Turn 1. Earlier in the day, Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had a crash at Turn 2 but his bike is back in the pits

09:49 - For information, some reference lap times. Last year's pole time, by Razgatlioglu, was a 1'29.400s. The race lap record is a 1'30.075s, from the 2019 Tissot Superpole Race courtesy of Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha), while the all-time record belongs to Tom Sykes from 2020 when he set a 1'29.230s in the Tissot Superpole session. The fastest time from last year's test was a 1'30.272s by double Champion Alvaro Bautista ( Racing - Ducati)

09:41 - Razgatlioglu continues out in front, he's the first rider to dip into the 1'29s with a 1'29.904s - that's only half-a-second away from his pole time last year on the Yamaha...

09:35 - Toprak Razgatlioglu's (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) gone out on track and is currently P1! 'El Turco''s posted a 1'30.234s to demote Iannone to second. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) is fourth, six tenths off his BMW stablemate

09:29 - The fastest time so far belongs to Iannone, with 'The Maniac' setting a 1'30.426s, three tenths clear of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). His teammate, Axel Bassani, is also lapping the circuit

09:19 - Shortly after Oettl took to the track, Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven), Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) and Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) joined him. This test is Aegerter's first test day of 2024, having missed outings at Jerez and Portimao through illness

09:10 - GREEN FLAG! Philipp Oetll (GMT94 Yamaha) is the first rider to head out on track

09:05 - before the test starts, recap some content from earlier. Catch up on all the WorldSSP action here with the end-of-day report, and don't forget to check out how to follow the Official Test here

A NEW ERA BEGINS: watch all the action from WorldSBK in 2024 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!