Milwaukee Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori led the way as the 2018 Superbike World Championship got underway in mixed conditions at Phillip Island.
It was a busy day for the Superbike class, with three free practice sessions now being held on Friday. Marco Melandri was fastest in the damp morning session while reigning champion Jonathan Rea topped a drying final session, but it was Italian rider Savadori whose quickest lap in a fully dry FP2 saw him atop of the combined times.
Savadori’s quickest lap of 1’30.407 placed him three tenths ahead of Red Bull Honda’s Leon Camier while Eugene Laverty rounded out a strong first day for the Guisborough-based Milwaukee team in third.
Tom Sykes was the quickest Kawasaki in fourth ahead of team-mate Jonathan Rea, who had a steady start to the year as he begins yet another season of title defence.
The quickest Ducati of Marco Melandri was sixth ahead of Michael van der Mark and Xavi Fores. Davies on the second factory Ducati was ninth quickest, ahead of Alex Lowes who was hampered on the opening day of action after a fast crash at the top of Lukey Heights. While Lowes was OK, his YZF-R1 took a hammering.
It wasn’t a great start to 2018 for Loris Baz either, returning to WorldSBK from MotoGP, he crashed his Althea BMW and was taken to the medical centre but has since been declared fit.