News and injury latest ahead of WSB opener
The heavy toll of crashes from Phillip Island testing has already affected the possible raceday line-up, but there are still some uncertainties one day before first practice starts.
Sylvain Barrier will definitely not compete for his BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Evo team, with his place being taken by Aussie rider Glenn Allerton. Said Barrier, from the official pre-race conference, which he attended on crutches, "I had a huge highside at turn 11. I lost the rear as I put lent over more trying to close the corner.
"My pelvis is fractured in three places, so as soon as I can I will go to France and see the doctor and try to be 100% for the next race."
One of the pre-season favourites for the Evo title, Barrier suffered three small micro fractures of his pelvis and was declared unfit to ride. The nature of his injury means that he should heal up in plenty of time for the next round at Aragon in early April.
His replacement Allerton was surprised by the call to arms, initially at least. "It was about six o’clock in the morning and I was sleeping. My phone kept vibrating and my missus said to me, 'Are you going to answer that phone or not?'
"I kind of had a feeling that it would be news that I would ride the bike after I heard that Sylvain had had a bad pelvis injury. That is really unfortunate, but for me it will be a good opportunity because it is the same bike I have been riding for years.
"It seems to be a good team and very professional and I know my way around the track. If this rain hangs around I might be in with a chance to win it!"
At the end of the official event press conference the heavens opened, on a day when it proved to be wet and sunny by turns. Allerton has raced at two previous WSB events, each time on a BMW, at Phillip Island in 2013 and then Laguna Seca last year.
Luca Scassa (Pedercini Kawasaki SBK Evo) is also definitely out of the race weekend after his own pelvic injury in two places, and there is a a rumour circulating the paddock that he could be replaced in the Italian team by another Aussie rider, Matt Walters, the current Australasian Superbike champion. No decision has been made either way for this possible substitution.
Despite not breaking his pelvis in his own fast testing fall, the general trauma suffered by Grillini Kawasaki rider Michel Fabrizio will keep him out of the race on the weekend. He is not expected to be replaced by anyone at this round.
Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki SBK Evo) will try to ride on Friday morning, after his left collarbione partial dislocation, but he will undergo a medial reappraisal after the first practice session.
The jury is still out on whether Jack Kennedy can race for his CIA Insurance Honda team after undergoing surgery on his injured heel.