Walker among crashers in Oz test
Strong winds stopped any faster times being logged by the top World Superbike riders at Phillip Island on Thursday – but did cause a spate of crashes.
Winds whipping in off the sea, just a few yards from the edge of the track in places, prevented anyone beating the time of 1:32.9s set by Troy Bayliss on Wednesday.
Those riders that crashed included Colin Edwards, Chris Walker, Ben Bostrom, Ruben Xaus and supersport rider John McGuinness. All were uninjured except McGuinness who suffered a cut leg and neck and a badly bruised shin after being high-sided off his Honda CBR600.
Fastest of the day was Aprilia’s Noriyuki Haga who managed to blow both of his RSV1000 engines up in the process. The first bike failure was caused by a water pump breaking, the second by the primary gears disintegrating inside the motor.
Haga was forced to sit out the whole of the afternoon session while his bikes were rebuilt. He said: "Not sure what the problems were but the second one was big bang. Lap time was excellent – engine wasn’t."
So far the test has not been a resounding success for the British riders – although all three managed to go faster this morning Neil Hodgson, James Toseland and Walker are eighth, ninth and tenth overall out of the 12 WSB riders at Phillip Island.
Despite the lack of fast times all three of the British riders remain fairly happy with the way the test has been going.#
Hodgson said: "The first day was just to get used to the bike and today we managed to go the wrong way with some of the changes we made to the suspension and tyres but I am still happy with the way things are going. It’s been really windy this afternoon and there wasn’t much more we could do. It will be better tomorrow."
Walker said: "Everything was good until the weather changed and then I crashed which wasn’t ideal. I’m just glad it was a high-side to be honest because I got so sick of low-siding on that GP bike."
In the World supersport class the fastest rider was still Spaniard Pere Riba who also couldn’t better his time from yesterday.
Brits James Ellison and McGuinness were pleased with the way the test was going until the windy weather made life more difficult. A crash for McGuinness made life even more difficult for McGuinness who was forced to miss most of the afternoon session.
McGuinness was testing tyres when he crashed at the exit of the Honda hairpin when the rear tyre suddenly let go, gripped suddenly and spat him over the handlebars.
He said: "My head ended up down by the front wheel after I had been thrown though the screen and then I was run over by the bike. Then the vicious bitch caught me again and roughed me up a bit."
McGuinness was left very sore with a bleeding right thigh, cut neck and his right shin badly bruised. He is hoping to be able to ride again on the final day of the test on Friday.
Ellison spent the second day of the test trying to find a set-up on his Kawasaki ZX6-R he was happy with.
He said: "It’s been a pretty good day but the weather has made it difficult for everyone. The headwind going into turn one was so strong you didn’t need to brake at all – just sit up and into the wind.
"The wind even helped turn the bike into a few turns but relying on it was dodgy because you can run onto the grass if the gust suddenly stops."
The test for both WSB and supersport riders concludes tomorrow.