Team Honda WorldSBK makes further progress at Phillip Island official test

The two-day WorldSBK official test has come to a close for the Honda WorldSBK team at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia. Nicky Hayden, Michael van der mark and the whole team are now ready to tackle the opening round of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship, which is scheduled to begin on Friday at the same venue.

The overall track time of eight hours for the test – split into four sessions – was significantly reduced by mixed weather and several red flags. After a first day marked by intermittent rain, today the temperatures rose considerably and reached a peak of 38°C in the air (41°C on the track) that translated into a dramatic change of conditions for the riders.

Michael van der Mark showed great speed in all conditions aboard his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP on the 4.445km fast and flowing Australian circuit, which last year was the stage for a stellar World Superbike debut for the flying Dutchman. The 2014 Supersport World Champion completed the highest number of laps for this test (123) and was fourth fastest with a lap time of 1’31.458.

Nicky Hayden got his first taste of Phillip Island on a Superbike ahead of his first race weekend as a full-time rider in the series. The 34-year-old American and his team tried different set-ups in terms of electronics, linkages, suspension and geometries, eventually finding a good base for the bike especially in cooler conditions. Hayden put in a total of 116 laps over the two days and his 1’31.558 placed him in seventh place overall.

The 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship will kick off on Friday at 10:15am local time (GMT +11) with the first free practice session.

Michael van der Mark 604th / 1'31.458

I’m really happy with how the test went. With the cooler conditions encountered yesterday we were able to be both fast and consistent and we’re really happy with that. This morning I was fast again but then we changed something on the bike and lost a bit of direction as the temperatures increased. We tried a race simulation that wasn’t perfect but towards the end of the day we made some further adjustments and the bike felt much better. I now know that we can be fast in both warmer and cooler conditions and this makes me confident for the opening round here.- Honda WorldSBK

Nicky Hayden 697th / 1'31.558

The test started really well and I was able to get up to speed quite quickly, despite the different behaviour of the tyres compared to the ones I used on this track in the past. We made few further adjustments that proved to be positive and the overall feeling wasn’t too bad. This afternoon I struggled a lot because of the high temperatures and we tried to make a long run, but it was really too hot; there is definitely some work to do in understanding the bike and the tyres in these conditions. It hasn’t been the perfect test for us because of yesterday’s rain and all the red flags today which messed up my rhythm. The team has worked amazingly hard, and they all did a great job. Hopefully we can make good use of the next two days to analyse the data and finalise the preparation for the weekend.- Honda WorldSBK

Pieter Breddels Technical Manager

It has been a positive test despite the conditions and many stoppages. Michael performed really well and no doubt he had a very good test. He quickly got up to speed and stayed in the top positions over the course of the two days. He went through a lot of settings and configurations and that gave us valuable information – especially on tyre behaviour. When it got really hot today we tried some electronic configurations to preserve the tyres and we did a long run as well. Michael is definitely ready for the weekend. Nicky needed more time to get to grips with the track on this bike and to get some much needed experience on what is still a new type of tyre for him. At the end of the first day he put together a fast lap that was kind of a breakthrough and only 1/10th of a second off Michael’s best, while on the second day he had a bit of a harder time due to the extreme conditions encountered in the afternoon. Overall we are confident for the weekend ahead and we are looking forward to it.

Combined Times - Monday and Tuesday

# RIDER NUM NAT. TEAM CONSTRUCTOR TIME/GAP1 TOM SYKES 66 GBR KAWASAKI RACING TEAM KAWASAKI 1'31.0972 JONATHAN REA 65 GBR KAWASAKI RACING TEAM KAWASAKI +0.1523 DAVIDE GIUGLIANO 34 ITA ARUBA.IT RACING DUCATI +0.3034 MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 60 NDL HONDA WORLDSBK HONDA +0.3615 SYLVAIN GUINTOLI 50 FRA PATA YAMAHA YAMAHA +0.3766 JORDI TORRES 81 SPA ALTHEA BMW RACING TEAM BMW +0.4297 NICKY HAYDEN 69 USA HONDA WORLDSBK HONDA +0.4618 ALEX LOWES 22 GBR PATA YAMAHA YAMAHA +0.5239 XAVI FORES 12 SPA BARNI RACING TEAM DUCATI +0.56410 CHAZ DAVIES 7 GBR ARUBA.IT RACING DUCATI +0.58111 MARKUS REITERBERGER 21 GER ALTHEA BMW RACING TEAM BMW +0.83112 ROMÁN RAMOS 40 SPA TEAM GO ELEVEN KAWASAKI +1.38114 LEON CAMIER 2 GBR MV AGUSTA REPARTO CORSE MV AGUSTA +1.60515 JOSHUA BROOKES 25 AUS MILWAUKEE BMW BMW +1.61716 MIKE JONES 46 AUS DESMO SPORT DUCATI DUCATI +1.95417 SYLVAIN BARRIER 11 QAT TEAM PEDERCINI KAWASAKI +2.05018 FABIO MENGHI 61 ITA VFT RACING DUCATI +2.15419 ALEX DE ANGELIS 15 RSM IODARACING TEAM APRILIA +2.22620 JOSHUA HOOK 16 AUS GRILLINI RACING TEAM KAWASAKI +2.69521 KAREL ABRAHAM 17 CZE MILWAUKEE BMW BMW +2.96522 DOMINIC SCHMITTER 9 SWI GRILLINI RACING TEAM KAWASAKI +3.56723 SAEED AL SULAITI 11 QAT TEAM PEDERCINI KAWASAKI +3.84524 PETER SEBESTYEN 56 HUN TEAM TOTH YAMAHA +4.44425 IMRE TOTH 10 HUN TEAM TOTH YAMAHA +5.053t