Carlos Checa Continues To Set Pace at Phillip Island

Carlos_Checa_WSBKCarlos Checa was the fastest once again around the World Superbike track at Phillip Island. Checa was the fastest during the first day of testing, setting the track record with a 1’30.58 lap time. Checa continued to set the pace at Phillip Island on day two, although lap times were slightly slower across the board.

The World Superbike season starts this weekend at Phillip Island, and the Althea Ducati rider has proven that he’s the man to beat. Not only did Checa have a fantastic session at Phillip Island, but he also took home a race win in Australia last year.

The top five finishers today were unable to improve their times from day one. 2010 World Superbike champion Max Biaggi was one of few riders to post a better lap on two, but Biaggi still only managed a sixth place finish.

Jonathan Rea, who finished third overall during the testing session, was taken to the hospital after a crash. Rea was taken to the hospital to have x-rays on his wrist. No word on the condition of his injury, but with just a few days before the start of the World Superbike season, Rea could struggle to see the grid on Sunday.

World Superbike Combined Testing Times From Phillip Island

  1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’30.578
  2. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’31.196
  3. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’31.206
  4. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’31.654
  5. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’31.866
  6. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’31.870
  7. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’32.113
  8. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’32.122
  9. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1’32.137
  10. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.272
  11. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’32.299
  12. Waters J. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’32.394
  13. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.405
  14. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.413
  15. 52 Toseland J. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.880
  16. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.994
  17. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’33.233
  18. Staring B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.398
  19. Yanagawa A. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.432
  20. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’33.485
  21. Rolfo R. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.514
  22. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’33.560
  23. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.721

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Checa Sets Pace During Day 1 of WSBK Test

carlos_checaThe final testing session before the 2011 World Superbike season got underway today at Phillip Island, and it was Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa who set the pace for the rest of the WSBK grid. Checa set a 1’31.3 time around the Phillip Island track, finishing nearly a second ahead of Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz.

After a wet morning session, the World Superbike riders got some sun in the afternoon and were able to put in a some solid laps. A flock of geese settled near the track toward the end of the session, which caused the red flags to come out three times, as the race director feared that the geese could endanger the riders.

“We’re very happy with today’s results but this is only the beginning and I hope we can make further progress tomorrow, weather depending. This morning we took it easy, seeing as the track was damp and this in the afternoon session I began to push. We worked hard today, trying different set-ups and making modification to my seat position. I’m feeling confident, we’ll see how tomorrow goes but I’d day that we’ll be ready for this weekend’s races.”

Reigning champ Max Biaggi sat out the morning session, but was able to put in some good laps in the afternoon. Biaggi finished fourth for the day, behind a podium of Ducati bikes with Checa, Guintoli, and Smrz.

In the World Supersport division, Fabien Foret was able to take the top honors today. Foret, Ten Kate Honda, finished more than a second over Kawasaki’s David Salom and Broc Parkes.

World Superbike – Phillip Island Test – Day 1

  1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’31.3
  2. Guintoli (Ducati) 1’32.3
  3. Smrz (Ducati) 1’32.3
  4. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’32.3
  5. Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1’32.4
  6. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’32.4
  7. Melandri (Yamaha) 1’32.4
  8. Rea (Honda) 1’32.5

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Vermeulen to Miss Opening Round of World Superbike Season

wsbk_chris_vermeulenChris Vermeulen has been optimistic about the condition of his knee, but he will not be racing at the 2011 World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island on February 27th. The Kawasaki Racing Team announced today that Vermeulen will not be participating in the upcoming testing session or the opening round of the World Superbike season.

The good news is that after the Australia round, the World Superbike riders will have a month break before round two at Donnington Park. The Kawasaki racing team and Vermeulen have decided not to risk the condition of Vermeuelen’s recovering knee in Australia in order to make sure that he is 100% for the rest of the season.

“We decided as a team that the best thing was not race or test here at Phillip Island,” Vermeulen said. “It is unfortunate because it is my home round and I have gone through such a long recovery already. It would have been nice to start off the season fit and strong but we did not want to risk any further damage to my knee. Just as importantly, I am not fit enough to compete at the top level yet so it is better to not ride at the moment. My knee is improving and the recovery is going as planned, so hopefully by Donington I will be ready to race again. I have nearly five weeks from now to get ready for that round.”

Vermeulen has been testing with the World Superbike riders, but says that he still doesn’t have full mobility on his knee.

Akira Yanagawa will ride in Vermeulen’s place. The Kawasaki Racing Team will also have regular riders Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz racing at Phillip Island.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Vermeulen Ready to Put Knee to the Test at Phillip Island

chris_vermeulenChris Vermeulen missed the majority of the 2010 season due to a knee injury. But now the Australian is back and ready for action. Vermeulen will put his knee to the test next week when the World Superbike riders take to the Phillip Island track for the final test before the start of the 2011 season.

“This is the longest time I have spent off a bike in my entire career,” said Vermeulen. “I really can’t wait to jump on the all-new Kawasaki ZX-10R and just start cutting some laps again. Of course, the number of laps I squeeze out at the Phillip Island test will depend on the condition of my knee.”

Vermeulen’s teammate Tom Sykes has been more than pleased with the new Ninja ZX-10R. Vermeulen got a chance to ride the ZX-10R as well last month, but his knee kept him from doing any extensive work.

“(My Knee) certainly has plenty of strength and stability now, but the biggest issue is I can’t bend it how I want to – or to the degree that racing at the highest level demands. And when I push the knee too hard I get swelling and pain in it. That’s why the test will be a delicate balancing act – I want to spend a lot of time on the bike to work on set-up, but I don’t want to push too hard and set back my recovery.”

Vermeulen wasn’t able to achieve the results in 2010, but Vermeulen has proven that he has what it takes to win at the Superbike level. In 2005, Vermeulen finished second in the series, and in 2003, he won the World Supersport title.

Vermeuelen will have a tough rode in 2011, but he is thankful for the support that he has received from Kawasaki.

“It’s certainly been frustrating, but to Kawasaki’s credit they haven’t been pushing me,” continued Vermeulen. “The company has told me it wants to finish top six in 2011 and then really push for the championship in 2012.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Castrol Honda Completes Private Test at Phillip Island

castrol_Honda_Phill_Island

The Castrol Honda World Superbike Team completed a two-day private test at Phillip Island in Australia today, ahead of next week’s official test (21-22 February), which will be followed by the opening round of the 2011 World Superbike championship (25-27 February).

The team has been blighted by poor weather conditions in Europe over the winter and maximized the opportunity offered by dry conditions to test a number of new components on its Castrol Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades.

Jonathan Rea completed 102 laps yesterday and settled quickly into a fast rhythm around the sweeping 4.5km circuit, 150km south of Melbourne. However, in wet conditions this morning, the 24-year-old crashed at Phillip Island’s fast turn one.

Rea suffered neck pains and was transferred to a hospital for a scan, which was clear, but he missed the rest of the day’s testing program.

Rea’s Castrol Honda team-mate, Ruben Xaus, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday in Australia tomorrow, took full advantage of his first real opportunity to get some dry time on his new CBR1000RR.

Jonathan Rea:
Everything felt really good yesterday and we did more laps than we’ve done during the whole winter in Europe. This morning it was wet but, when it stopped raining and looked like clearing up, I went out but got off the bike quite quickly at turn one. I hurt my neck a bit but the paramedics insisted on putting me in a brace and taking me to hospital where it took about four hours to get a scan. Everything was fine and it was a little frustrating to lose the time today. But yesterday showed that we’re in a pretty good place, so I’m looking forward to some more testing on Monday.

Ruben Xaus:
I’m quite tired actually! I’ve done a lot of laps yesterday and today and this is quite a physical circuit. Combined with trying lots of different things and still a bit of jet-lag, it’s been a tough couple of days. But so far so good, and we’ve had to go through a lot of different things to learn more about the bike and how it behaves in different situations. I don’t want to go out and just give it full gas for three fast laps; I want to be able to go fast after a lot of laps, which is really important here. We know which direction we’re going in and we’ll follow that way when we come back on Monday and work a little more on stability through the corner.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager
Well, Jonathan had quite a big off this morning, but everything was fine yesterday and I saw he Tweeted that the bike was ‘jammin’, which is a good thing I think! He was still on full wets this morning, even though the puddles had gone, and when he got back from the hospital it was quite late, so we gave him the rest of the afternoon off! Ruben and his crew have been going through a lot of work here because it’s been his first chance to ride the bike properly in dry conditions. They tried a lot of different settings and found a good way to head into the official tests next week.

[Press Release and Photos Courtesy of Castrol Honda]