Eugene Laverty was the quickest rider in a tight lead pack during the first day of World Superbike testing Thursday at Phillip Island. But Laverty's speed was overshadowed by multiple crashes on the freshly paved track, including an incident in which 2012 WSBK runner-up Tom Sykes suffered a broken wrist.
Laverty was quickest at 1:31.7 on his factory Aprilia, followed by Leon Camier at 1:31.9 on his Crescent Suzuki. Ten Kate Honda teammates Jonny Rea and Leon Haslam tied for third at respectively, at 1:32.0, while Marco Melandri rounded out the top five at 1:32.2 on his factory BMW.
Riders complimented the smooth new surface at Phillip Island, but the lack of rubber on the fresh asphalt led to havoc in the morning.
Sykes crashed on just his fifth lap. He is almost certain to miss testing Friday, with a decision to come about his participation in the official WSBK testing starting Monday at Phillip Island. Kawasaki officials indicated Sykes would race in the WSBK season opener Feb. 24 at Phillip Island.
Other riders crashing in separate incidents included Suzuki teammates Camier and Jules Cluzel and Loris Baz of Kawasaki, with Cluzel dumping his bike twice.
Camier and Baz were unhurt in massive high-sides, with Baz's Kawasaki destroyed in his crash. Cluzel continued after receiving stitches to close a deep cut on his elbow. The cut was reopened in the second crash.
2011 WSBK champion Carlos Checa didn't ride his factory Ducati due to a stomach ailment. He complained of severe stomach pain after dinner Wednesday night, and Italian media reported Checa is at a Melbourne-area hospital undergoing tests for a possible intestinal blockage.