With two days of testing at the Australian track under their belts, the team began their 2017 WorldSBK campaign proper in Free Practice 1 and 2 on Friday. The team have made clear performance gains ahead of Round 1 this weekend, and are relishing the prospect of their first race as a new team on Saturday.
Lorenzo Savadori finished the day well in 7th overall with a time of 1’30.847, which was enough to secure him a spot in the Superpole 2 shootout session on Saturday in the fight for pole position.
Eugene Laverty made big strides in his search for more pace, managing to find more than 0.6s over his best time in testing on Monday and Friday. Finishing 11th overall with a 1’31.287 lap, he will take part in Superpole 1 and aim to progress to Superpole 2.
The action at Phillip Island continues with FP3 at 10:20am (AEDT) (11:20pm GMT) ahead of Superpole 1 & 2 at 12:30-13:10pm (AEDT) (01:30-02:10am GMT).
FP1 – 1’31.677 FP2 – 1’30.847
I am happy with how today went. We made a lot of progress over our times from testing, but for sure we need to find some more pace on longer runs.
I had a bit of a scary moment in FP1 with a close highside, but I was able to rescue the bike and I am OK. I still need to find more rhythm on the bike, but I know the team is working very hard and I am sure tomorrow we will be better.
I am glad to be in Superpole 2 at the first race, and I think my lap time was good. We know that we need more speed, but today was a good step for us.
FP1 – 1’31.706 – P14 FP2 – 1’31.287 – P9
This morning wasn’t a great session, but we made some good progress in the afternoon. The pace of the grid was slower, but the top guys didn’t go any quicker and we managed to go a lot faster than we have this weekend.
I had some chatter again in the front which was difficult to handle, but we are making headway; I’ve already gone 0.6s quicker than I did at the test, so there is a definite positive direction.
We still need to find some pace and to miss out on Superpole 2 by one-tenth was frustrating, but I’m sure tomorrow will be better for us.
Team Manager Mick Shanley
It’s been good to finally start the new season, but its not without its challenges. The team has worked hard with both riders today, and it was good to achieve Superpole 2 with Lorenzo.
We are pushing to find what we need to make Eugene more comfortable, and also to improve the bike for longer runs. We have chance to test some new things in FP3, and we are confident we can find a solution that would enable Eugene to progress to Superpole 2.
We are now looking forward to fighting in qualifying, and the first race of 2017.