Phillip Island (Australia), Friday 20 February 2015 – The 2015 Superbike championship officially opened today at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island, with the first timed practice sessions of the race weekend. Chaz Davies, factory rider with the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team, made good progress during the two sessions, while Troy Bayliss, who substitutes for injured Davide Giugliano this weekend, unfortunately missed out on most of the morning’s session and was therefore only able to start the real set-up work of his Ducati Panigale R this afternoon.
During the first timed practice session, which took place this morning in good conditions (air temperature 22°C, track 29°C), Davies worked methodically with his technicians. Lapping with fairly consistent lap times, he closed this opening session in seventh position with a best time of 1’31.748. A technical problem for Bayliss, identified immediately after his first exit, unfortunately held him in the garage for the remainder of the session. The Australian therefore finished in eighteenth position, having completed only three laps in the first minutes of the session.
The track temperature was a lot higher (51°C) for the second session meaning that all of the Superbike riders struggled to improve on times set in the morning. With no particular problems, Chaz continued to work steadily with the team and, despite being unable to lower his lap time, he completed many laps and is generally satisfied with the performance of his Panigale R. The Welshman closed in eighth position. Thanks to the hard work of his technicians, Bayliss was able to get back on out track for session two, using the 45 minutes available to start the set-up work that would ideally have got underway this morning. Making small improvements during the course of the session, he was able to gradually lower his lap times, concluding day one with a best lap time of 1’33.490.
Quotes after the day’s sessions:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 8th (1’31.748)
“Things haven’t gone too badly today. I think that we’ve made some progress with regard to race set-up and are continuing to look for small improvements across certain areas, as we were doing during the tests. I don’t feel like the bike is turning well enough through a couple of the tighter turns but apart from that the bike seems reasonably stable. We need to work on grip in the final corner as the feeling hasn’t been as good as it was in testing but we’ll continue to work on that tomorrow…”
Troy Bayliss – (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #21) – 18th (1’33.490)
“I think I’ve only done about 19 laps all up. We lost almost the whole session this morning due to a technical issue which was a pity, but then this afternoon we were able to make some progress and I really started to feel good on the bike. I’m not feeling very confident with the back of the bike right now, in maximum lean, as there’s some sliding there, but I’m sure we’ll be able to sort thata out tomorrow. I can say that we’re definitely making progress. There’s a lot we still need to do tomorrow of course, but we’re taking baby steps and we’re getting there. The important thing is that I’m really enjoying riding the bike and overall I’m very happy for the ‘short’ Friday I’ve had.”