Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is set to start the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island this weekend after a successful week of testing and preparation at the Australian circuit.
After a strong showing throughout the recent two-day test which saw him top the overall times, Alex Lowes is eager to return to the track to build on the somewhat untapped potential from his rookie race last season – after a dramatic high-side in qualifying curtailed what had promised to be a strong debut. Despite previous difficulties, the Victoria circuit remains a favourite of the British racer and he is looking forward to starting his 2015 season aboard his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R.
Randy de Puniet is equally excited about his inaugural race weekend both within the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team and the World SBK Championship. No stranger to the Phillip Island layout, the 34-year-old Frenchman has competed here consistently from 1999-2013 and is confident of his new Suzuki Superbike’s ability, in spite of his recent altercation with turn 11 during the opening day of testing.
The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is the fastest track on the Superbike calendar. Located around a two-hour drive from Victoria’s State Capital Melbourne, the 4,445m layout switches direction and elevation throughout its seven left and five right-hand turns, with spectacular views due to its cliff-top position. Celebrations will be in full flow this weekend as the event marks, not just the opening race of the 2015 season, but the record-breaking 25th time a World SBK race has been held here.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki commences track action on Friday 20th February at 11:45hrs local time (00:45GMT) for the first of two qualifying free practice sessions. The final qualifying will be held at 09:45hrs local time on Saturday morning (22:45GMT Friday night) before Superpole at 15:00hrs (04:00GMT). Sunday’s two races are scheduled for 12:00hrs (01:00GMT) and 14:40hrs (03:40GMT) respectively.
“I’m really looking forward to the start of the season. I want to get a good first race weekend under my belt and get the season started with two solid races. I still have some things to work on with the bike after the test but pre-season has gone well and we have worked really hard. Now I’m ready to go out there and do our best this year.”
Randy de Puniet:
“I expect to be in a better physical condition after my crash on Monday; it was a big injury but I am recovering well. Unfortunately I didn’t achieve what I had planned before the race weekend, working on the bike and the race-simulation, as I only rode 25 laps but the initial feeling with the GSX-R was good and Alex had a really good test and proved the bike is competitive. I just need to relax and see how I feel on the bike on Friday, but I’m confident, I think every day it gets better and even if I can’t do the race weekend quite how I wanted, I think I can still be strong. The most important thing for me is to finish both the races on Sunday.”