WorldSSP Official Test action starts with Montella in P1 after FP1 at Phillip Island

Monday, 19 February 2024 02:26 GMT

Right on lap record pace after a new track surface has been laid down, Yari Montella led the WorldSSP charge on ‘The Island’ as the final test begins before lights out for 2024

It’s the moment motorsport fans have been waiting for the world-over; the new season is dawning and a new chapter ready to be written. In the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, it’s no different as the Official Test once again raises the curtain for the forthcoming season. Getting the test underway, the FIM Supersport World Championship with two sessions of action at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on Monday, with the opening four hours going to Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team).

An array of names enjoyed time at the top as the lap times themselves tumbled, although it was Italian rider Montella who got off to a strong start, challenging the lap record from four years ago, held by Andrea Locatelli. The 1’32.277 saw Montella just over a tenth off that elusive lap record and with another session to come in the afternoon. He was just less than a tenth ahead of fellow Ducati rider Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team), who is one of the pre-season favourites despite never having had a podium. A quarter of a second off Montella’s time was class veteran Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) in P3, making it three Italian bikes inside the top three with his MV Agusta. Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) took fourth, whilst fellow Yamaha rider and 2017 Champion Lucas Mahias (GMT94 Yamaha) rounded out the top five.

Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) was a solid sixth after the opening session, whilst the home crowd had plenty to cheer about as Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing WorldSSP Team) shone in P7 as he readies for his third season of action and looks to make a step. Eighth went the way of Britain’s Tom Booth-Amos (PTR Triumph), with a new challenge lying ahead for him. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Jorge Navarro (WRP-RT Motorsport by SKM-Triumph) completed the top ten. Outside of the top ten, big names such as Turkish duo Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) were 11th and 13th, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri’s (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) return to the class saw him 16th; he was two places behind rookie Niccolo Antonelli (Ecosantagata Althea Racing Team), whilst Glenn van Straalen (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) struggled in 24th.

Top six after WorldSSP FP1 of the Official Test, full results here:

1. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) 1’32.277s

2. Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team) +0.093s

3. Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) +0.252s

4. Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) +0.258s

5. Lucas Mahias (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.453s

6. Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +0.595s

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