Cloudy skies welcomed everyone out on Monday morning for the final pre-season test of the year as the FIM Supersport World Championship riders got the ball rolling at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. This was the first time we saw the full grid in action this season including several fresh faces, but it was familiar ones at the forefront as Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros WorldSSP Team) led a BARDAHL Evan Bros one-two over Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros WorldSSP Team).
The BARDAHL Evan Bros WorldSSP Team could have hardly hoped for a better opening day at the windy and winding Australian track as they took the top two spots on the combined timing sheets. Coming off the back of a successful two-day test at Jerez last January – neither rider took part in the Portimao test three days later – Federico Caricasulo was again in top form, setting a provisional fastest lap of 1’33.882, although his day ended on a downbeat after a late crash.
New teammate Randy Krummenacher will not be one to be overlooked, however. The now beardless Swiss racer remained second fastest and barely a tenth of a second behind the young Italian throughout the day, with both riders – who took first and second place in Australia back in 2016 – focusing directly on the setup for the upcoming race weekend. Then, with the chequered flag down, Krummenacher rushed into the lead by barely 0.062s, rounding off a perfect day for the yellow bikes.
It was also a mostly successful outing for both Kawasaki Puccetti riders, with both men comfortably inside the top six on day one. Lucas Mahias’ (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) day went off to a rough start after a small crash two laps into the first session, but the 2017 World Supersport Champion recovered to sign off the fourth fastest time of the afternoon. Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) meanwhile closed off his Monday as sixth fastest overall, less than four tenths of a second behind his teammate.
Completing the trio of different bikes amongst Monday’s fastest five was the MV Agusta F3 675 of Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), just 0.411 seconds off the leading pace, while teammate Federico Fuligni (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) continued his adaptation to the Supersport category with the 16th best lap time.
A late charge from Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) lifted him up to third at the 4.4km track, as he continues to work around the leg injury he suffered back at Qatar. The Frenchman suffered a small crash at Doohan Corner just two minutes before the end of Session One but was able to get back out later on. 20-year-old teammate Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA) was ninth fastest on the timesheets, three tenths behind.
It was also a busy day of work for the entire Kallio Racing team, as all three of their riders look to continue Sandro Cortese’s legacy on the blue bike. Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) was the fastest amongst the three, finishing eighth on the official timings – 0.285s faster than Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) in tenth and 0.541s quicker than Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing) in thirteenth.
Whilst the names above had already enjoyed some track time last month at Jerez or Portimao, several riders took their first steps of the 2019 season here at Phillip Island. Héctor Barberà (Team Toth by Willirace) was seventh and best of the rest on his first day aboard a Yamaha YZF R6, with Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays) as the most competitive Honda in eleventh, Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in twelfth and wildcard Tom Toparis (Landbridge Transport Yamaha) in fourteenth.
Phillip Island Official Test Day One WorldSSP Results:
1. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) 1’33.820
2. Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.062
3. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.378
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