After much anticipation, the first day of FIM World Supersport is complete at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, although red flags for invading wildlife did cause problems in the opening session of the weekend! Two red flags due to the Phillip Island nature meant small delays did occur, thankfully without drama.
Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) held the top position for most of the opening session; his Yamaha YZF R6 retaining its position from the test. Teammate Federico Caricasulo briefly jumped up to the top with, but after all the exchanging between the teammates, it would be Krummenacher who pipped Caricasulo to top spot overall.
Within all the position changing, Austrian-ace Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) elevated himself to second position, nearly four tenths behind a rampant Krummenacher. Teammates Isaac Viñales and Loris Cresson were 11th and 15th respectively, with Belgian rider Cresson suffering a crash at the end of the first session. He rejoined in FP2.
Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) rounded out the day in fourth place and top Frenchman. The 17-time race winner started his 2019 WorldSSP campaign off very well indeed. Teammate and fellow countryman Corentin Perolari also continued his early season pace and finished 9th, making it three French riders inside the top ten.
Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) completed the day in fifth place and was just over a half a second from Krummenacher’s top time with just under four minutes remaining. De Rosa didn’t trouble his time in FP2 and remained fifth at the end of play.
2017 WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was in eighth place for most of the first session as he continued to adapt to the Kawasaki ZX-6R, nearly a second adrift of the top position before finishing sixth overall. Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) placed second with ten minutes left on the clock in FP1, before slipping to seventh overall. The young Japanese rider leaping up the order with his Kawasaki ZX-6R.
Hector Barbera (Team Toth by Willirace) showed his potential aboard the Yamaha YZF R6 and was eighth at a circuit he knows very well from Grand Prix racing. His WorldSSP debut got off to a good start as he continues to adapt to new machinery.
Completing the top ten was Italian rider, Federico Fuligni (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) aboard his MV Agusta F3 675. The WorldSSP Rookie made an impressive debut appearance in the paddock at a circuit which he knows, continuously improving throughout both sessions.
Australian wildcard Tom Toparis was in the mix, finishing 14th overall on his Yamaha and completing an impressive 17 laps.
#AUSWorldSBK WorldSSP at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit: Friday
1. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) 1’32.777
2. Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) +0.373
3. Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.389
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