Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) was able to take the honours in the opening World Supersport session of the Official Test with a time of 1.35.365; as the weather continued to cause minor delays around the swooping Australian circuit.
The main talking point of FP1 was Turkish rider Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who was testing for the first time following his injury over the winter. Trying out five laps aboard his ZX-6R, he was still able to secure the sixth fastest time of the morning – a 1.36.264 – before the rain hit.
With a quiet start to the Official WorldSSP test, the 26 riders were cautious regarding the amount of time out on track, but were all able to begin to set some solid lap times and collect data with a big week ahead.
Similar patterns were seen during FP2, and all bikes were back in the pits at the end of the first half hour. However the downfall held off for the remainder of the afternoon meaning riders were fully able to stretch their legs for the first time.
Cluzel was unable to improve on his lap time of this morning, which was the case for all riders in the Supersport class, as the track was unable to dry from the rain which fell this morning. Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) was the fastest rider out on track this afternoon, leading his MV Agusta around the swooping circuit to a lap time of 1.36.539.
Combined practice times saw Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) finish in the top three and just over half a second behind the fast Frenchman, as his lap time was a 1.36.031. It was a strong day for CIA Landlord Insurance Honda as Hikari Okubo was able to set a time of 1.36.187 to take fourth spot of the day, ahead of Zulfhami Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura)’s time of 1.36.263 to put him in fifth.
Choosing not to go out in the risky conditions of FP2, Sofulogu rounded out the day in sixth. Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was one of 15 riders out on track for FP2, and kept a hold of his seventh position in the standings overall and a time of 1.36.317.
Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) took eighth spot at the end of the opening day – setting a lap time of 1.36.399 he was one of the riders to head out in both sessions, as the Brit continues to adjust to his new team. Just 0.159s behind Rea was last year’s top five finisher, PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in ninth position. The American is also with a new team for 2017, and put in 29 laps in total for his opening day around the unforgiving Phillip Island circuit.
WorldSSP bikes will be back out on track tomorrow morning at 09:10am Local Time (GMT +11), and you can follow all the sessions through live timing on WorldSBK.com.