Phillip Island WSB test: Carlos Checa fastest on day two

Published: 14 February 2012

Carlos Checa picked up the pace and put in a 1’32.2 second lap on a dry and warm second day of testing in Australia. The World Champion got down to more work on his overall race set-up with the Althea Ducati, and it paid off, despite an early health scare that he quickly recovered from.

Said Checa, “I did not have a good night last night, suffering from indigestion, and I lost time in the morning. We continued with our plan later in the day and we found a good set-up with front suspension, which I like probably better than our standard. We took more time than normal to confirm that the feeling was right and we did the job today that we planned yesterday.”

Checa put the relative lack of outright pace compared to his best ever testing pace of 1’30.578, down to the track condition (asphalt temperatures were reasonably high today) and the tyres that were available at this private test.

“Remember that lap (in 2011 testing) was after three days of testing, when my bike had six kilos less. I cannot feel the extra weight but sure there is something, maybe in this track not so much, because there are only two places with hard acceleration and hard braking, but to have six more kilos in the bike is something that penalises us, but I do not know how much.” added Checa. “To have six more kilos certainly does not help!”

Like many teams and riders, Checa was trying out their machines with regular starters, not only petrol-powered starters, in readiness for the single bike rule. “It is impossible to start our bike by bumping it alone,” said Checa, referring to the idea that the electric starter would allow a stricken rider to get back on his bike and ride back to pitlane after a fall. Aprilia and BMW were also button electric starters, a la normal roadbikes.

Tom Sykes was the second fastest rider, by a tenth, as he once again put in consistent laps on his Kawasaki Racing Team official bike. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) stepped up his pace today and was himself only a tenth behind Sykes.

Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) and Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) set identical lap times of 1’32.5, with Lascorz putting all the set-up data he compiled over these two days to good use right at the end. Laverty was reputed to have done a 1’33.8 with 30 laps on the same tyre.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri were sixth and seventh fastest, making progress on their works BMWs.

Sylvain Guintoli did not post any times as he has a nasty bout of flu, while David Salom’s crash from yesterday proved to be more irritating for the Pedercini Kawasaki rider than was first thought, as he hurt his right wrist, possibly fracturing his scaphoid. He will try to run again on the final day of the tests.

Local man Dave Johnson had to put a stock engine into his BMW today, but still improved his best time to a 1’34.7. One more day of unofficial testing remains.

With so much time on offer at these tests, and with more to come next week even before race weekend starts, some riders did not ride all day long, but in short bursts to conserve energy and their machines.

With John Hopkins out of the opening race of the year due to breaking a bone in his right hand in yesterday’s crash, Aussie star Josh Brookes will be drafted in to replace Hopkins.

He is currently on his way to PI and hopes to ride on the final day of the tests. He is also down to replace Hopkins for the first round of the year, on 26th February at PI.
 
Day Two Best Time

Carlos Checa: 1’32.1
Tom Sykes: 1’32.2
Max Biaggi: 1’32.3
Eugene Laverty: 1’32.5
Joan Lascorz: 1’32.5
Leon Haslam: 1’32.6
Marco Melandri: 1’33.0
Jakub Smrz: 1’33.2
Maxime Berger: 1’33.3
Ayrton Badovini: 1’33.6
David Giugliano: 1’33.7
Michel Fabrizio: 1’33.9
Leon Camier: 1’33.9
David Johnson: 1’34.7 – stock engine after race engine developed problem.
David Salom: 1’34.9 - but only a few laps due to injured right wrist
Lorenzo Zanetti: 1’35.2
John Hopkins: Absent through injury
Sylvain Guintoli: No time – flu

FOR COMPARISON
Race Lap record:  1’31.826 – Troy Corser 2007 Yamaha
In testing Checa last year 1’30.578.
Laconi on DFX Ducati did a 1'31.050 in Superpole 2 in 2009.

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