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Melandri the man to beat in Phillip Island WorldSBK test

Monday, February 19 2018

Ducati's Marco Melandri laid down an early marker to his rivals by setting the fastest time in WorldSBK testing at Australia's Phillip Island this morning (Monday), while Kawasaki duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes suffered dramatic crashes.

In a day affected by high winds, Melandri's time, set in the opening session, was 0.341 seconds quicker than Sykes, who emerged relatively unscathed after his high side at turn 11 during the afternoon session when he was seemingly on course to set a personal best time.

Rea was over half a second slower than the Italian, and he too came unstuck at turn 11, this time during the morning session. He didn't run at all in the afternoon, opting to play safe with high winds continuing and other riders suffering falls.

Red Bull Honda's Leon Camier continued his excellent winter testing form with the fourth fastest time, ahead of Dutchman Michael van der Mark on the Pata Yamaha, who was a rare improver in the afternoon.

Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team Ducati) was within a second of the fastest time while Eugene Laverty set the seventh fastest lap for Milwaukee Aprilia. Donington-local Alex Lowes was eighth fastest for Pata Yamaha, and was the only other man in the top-10 to improve his time in the afternoon.

Jordi Torres in ninth suffered perhaps the most spectacular spill of the day, when he crashed at turn two in the opening practice. The MV Agusta was destroyed as it flipped end over end, leaving the team with plenty of work to do to get the bike back on track in time for tomorrow's sessions.

Ducati's Chaz Davies completed the top-10, with testing resuming tomorrow ahead of the first race event of the year, which takes place this weekend.

World Superbike official test, Phillip Island, day one, top-10

1. Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, 1m30.726s
2. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, +0.341s
3. Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team, +0.533s
4. Leon Camier, Red Bull Honda, +0.828s
5. Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha, +0.956s
6. Xavi Fores, Barni Racing Team Ducati, +0.980s
7. Eugene Laverty, Milwaukee Aprilia, +1.147s
8. Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha, +1.188s
9. Jordi Torres, MV Agusta, +1.220s
10. Chaz Davies, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, +1.328s

The only UK round of World Superbikes takes place at Donington Park on 25-27 May, with tickets starting at £28, with reduced prices for teens 13-15 and free admission for children aged 12 and under. For more information, click here