At the first official World Superbike test, in Phillip Island Monday and Tuesday, ex-MotoGP pilot Alvaro Bautista ran a best lap of 1:30.303 on day two on the brand-new Ducati Panigale V4, nearly 0.5-second quicker than four-time world champion Jonathan Rea’s factory Kawasaki, and 1.5 seconds faster than Ducati teammate Chaz Davies. Obviously one test does not a Superbike season make, but it’s not a bad start for Bautista and the new V4 Ducati.
Nor is the season off to a bad start for Tom Sykes, who departed from the factory Kawasaki squad after last season. On the brand new BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team S1000RR, Sykes was second-fastest with a 1:30.539.
In an effort to achieve parity, WSBK rules set rev limits for each motorcycle, which can be adjusted as needed as the season progresses. For now, the Kawasaki is limited to 14,600 rpm, the BMW to 14,900, and the new Ducati Panigale to an amazing 16,350 rpm – which would definitely help explain its speed advantage around the high speed Phillip Island circuit.
WSBK timing clocked Bautista’s Panigale at 195.7 mph down PI’s front straight, with Jonathan Rea’s factory Kawasaki second-fastest at 194.5 mph. The only other bikes to crack the 310 kph mark (192.6 mph) were the other two Panigales of Chaz Davis and Michael Rinaldi, both of whose bikes hit 193.9 mph top speeds in spite of being 2 seconds off Bautista’s pace. Full Tuesday results here.
Tons more WSBK here, at Worldsbk.com.