Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s new signing Álvaro Bautista headed the timesheets after the first two free practice sessions held today at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia. After an FP1 session in which he was classified in second place, Álvaro was able to move on top of the timesheets just ten minutes into the afternoon’s second free practice. The 34-year-old from Spain, aboard his Ducati Panigale V4 R, which is also making its outright debut in World Superbike, then put in a series of fast laps to end the day in first place with an advantage of just 0.014s over Rea.
It was a difficult day on the other hand for Chaz Davies, who struggled to gain the right confidence with his Panigale V4 R. Even though he is down in fourteenth place, the classification does not reflect his true potential and the Welsh rider can count on improving in the third and final free practice session.
With the introduction of the new format, tomorrow’s schedule will see FP3 take place at 10:00 local time (00:00 CET), the Tissot Superpole at 12:15 (02:15 CET), followed by Race 1 which will be held at 15:00 (05:00 CET).
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1:30.327 – 1st
“Even though the main aim was not to set the quickest time, today was really positive and I’m very satisfied. We knew we had a good pace, so everything was possible. This morning we made a change to the set-up to try and improve the feeling from the tests at the start of the week, but we didn’t find what we expected. In addition, we tried a new spec of tyre which wasn’t at the test. In the afternoon we decided to work on race distance to verify tyre wear and all in all I’m happy. I’ve got an excellent feeling with the bike and I’m enjoying myself so we’ll try and continue like this tomorrow. As it’s my first race in Superbike many aspects are new to me, it’s not going to be easy but I hope to be able to fight with Rea. We’ll see during the weekend, but for sure I’ll give my all!”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:31.334 – 14th
“This morning we improved my feeling with the bike from the tests on Monday and Tuesday, while in the afternoon we made another small step forward and I had a good feeling in particular with the used tyres. At the end of the session we put on a new tyre but unfortunately it didn’t make any difference. We’ll carefully study the data and try and make another step forward for Superpole and race 1. On paper my position doesn’t look too good, but the feeling is better than many other times here in the past and that’s the most important thing.”