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Phillip Island WorldSBK, Friday Free Practice | Alex Lowes upstages favourites to top opening day

Gold & Goose

Alex Lowes was the unexpected pace setter come the end of play for day one of the 2024 WorldSBK Championship opening round at Phillip Island.

The Kawasaki Racing Team rider upstaged his better fancied rivals on a fairly unusual leaderboard during second free practice on a day when intermittent drizzle and high winds put a dampener on the some of the wilder predictions about lap times on the newly resurfaced Australian circuit.

Even so, Lowes was still capable of setting a new lap record - beating the time set by Andrea Locatelli during FP1 - with a 1m 29.042secs, even if it remained short of the 1m 28srcs laps being set during testing earlier in the week in hotter conditions.


Regardless of the times themselves, Lowes' presence at the head of the timesheets was a continuation of strong pace shown on Tuesday and during FP1, the Briton looking in fine fettle around the circuit where he achieved his single win as a Kawasaki rider back in 2020.

On a day when the dominant trio of recent seasons - Alvaro Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea - appeared to struggle in the changeable conditions, it was left to some different names to hold the overnight advantage heading into Saturday's Superpole and opening race.

Strong start for Ducati with Nicolo Bulega second, with the exception of a struggling Alvaro Bautista

Rookie Nicolo Bulega shrugged off the tricky weather to come in less than a tenth off Lowes in second place, while Locatelli - despite only being 11th fastest in FP2 - had his session-topping FP1 effort to thank for his third place on the combined leaderboard.

Danilo Petrucci made stealthily impressive progress in FP2 to turn in the fourth fastest time, while Michael van der Mark broke out of Razgatlioglu's shadow on his ROKiT BMW to complete the top five.

Having shadowed his brother Alex with third best in FP1, Sam Lowes consolidated his promising start to the year with the sixth fastest time despite a scary moment in FP2 when he got out of shape coming into Turn 2 and speared across the damp grass and gravel. Nevertheless, the ex-Moto2 rider kept it upright and stopped just in time before the barriers.

Andrea Iannone (Go Eleven) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Motocorsa) made it four satellite Ducati riders inside the top eight in seventh and eighth respectively, ahead of Remy Gardner and a curiously off-kilter Razgatlioglu.

Sam Lowes survived a wild off-track moment to end his day inside the top six on his debut


The Turk made several attempts at a fast lap but couldn't seem to find the same immediate turn of pace that has defined in pre-season in the cooler conditions.

Still, he fared better than a disgruntled Bautista, the defending champion seen repeatedly shaking his head as he failed to find his groove on the Aruba.it Ducati, down in 12th.

Similarly, Jonathan Rea missed a large portion of FP2 before only going quick enough for 16th place when he did head out on track aboard the Pata PROMETEON Yamaha.

Indeed, beyond the Lowes' twins, it was an inauspicious first day back at 'school' for the British contingent with Scott Redding's promising pace quelled by technical issues on his BMW with 15mins of the session remaining, leaving him 18th. Countrymen Brad Ray (Motoxracing Yamaha) and Tarran Mackenzie (MIE Honda) completed their days in a respective 17th and 22nd.


2024 WorldSBK Phillip Island | Free Practice 2 Results [Combined]

Friday | Conditions - Damp start-to-dry

🇦🇺 ⏱️ 2024 WorldSBK Results | Phillip Island, Australia | Free Practice Results [FP1+FP2] | Round 1 of 12
PosRiderNatTeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Alex Lowes🇬🇧Kawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 29.042
2Nicolo Bulega🇮🇹Aruba RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 29.101
3Andrea Locatelli🇮🇹Pata PROMOTEONYamaha R11m 29.197
4Danilo Petrucci🇮🇹Barni Spark RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 29.237
5Michael van der Mark🇳🇱ROKiT BMW MotorradBMW M 1000 RR1m 29.264
6Sam Lowes🇬🇧Elf Marc VDS RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 29.292
7Andrea Iannone🇮🇹Team Go ElevenDucati Panigale V4 R1m 29.323
8Michael Ruben Rinaldi🇮🇹Motocorsa RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 29.343
9Remy Gardner🇦🇺GYTR GRTYamaha R11m 29.349
10Toprak Razgatlioglu🇹🇷ROKiT BMW MotorradBMW M 1000 RR1m 29.407
11Philipp Oettl🇩🇪GMT 94Yamaha R11m 29.514
12Alvaro Bautista🇪🇦Aruba RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 29.572
13Dominique Aegerter🇨🇭GYTR GRTYamaha R11m 29.623
14Xavi Vierge🇪🇦Team HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 29.815
15Axel Bassani🇮🇹Kawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 30.085
16Jonathan Rea🇬🇧Pata PROMOTEONYamaha R11m 30.097
17Bradley Ray🇬🇧MotoxracingYamaha R11m 30.753
18Scott Redding🇬🇧Bonovo Action RacingBMW M 1000 RR1m 30.896
19Garrett Gerloff🇺🇲Bonovo Action RacingBMW M 1000 RR1m 31.231
20Iker Lecuona🇪🇦Team HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 31.315
21Tito Rabat🇪🇦Puccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 31.341
22Tarran Mackenzie🇬🇧Petronas MIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 31.863
23Adam Norrodin🇲🇾Petronas MIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 32.649

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit | Lap Records - WorldSBK

🇦🇺 ⏱️ 🏁 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit | Lap Records - WorldSBK
-RiderNatTeamBikeLap TImeYearClassification
-Tom Sykes🇬🇧BMW Motorrad WorldSBKBMW S 1000 RR1m 29.2302020All-Time Lap Record
-Jonathan Rea🇬🇧Kawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 30.0752019Best Race Lap
-Toprak Razgatlioglu🇹🇷Pata Crescent RacingYamaha R11m 29.40020232023 Superpole

2024 WorldSBK Phillip Island Schedule & Programme

🇦🇺 ⏱️ 🏁 2024 WorldSBK & WorldSSP Phillip Island Schedule
-DateChampionshipSessionTime [Local]Time [UK +11h]
-23 Feb - FRIWorldSSPFP110.25 - 11.0523.25 (THUR) - 00.05
-23 Feb - FRIWorldSBKFP111.20 - 12.0500.20 - 01.05
-23 Feb - FRIWorldSSPSuperpole14.55 - 15.3503.55 - 04.35
-23 Feb - FRIWorldSBKFP216.00 - 16.4505.00 - 05.45
-24 Feb - SATWorldSBKFP310.00 - 10.2023.00 (FRI) - 23.20
-24 Feb - SATWorldSSPWarm-Up10.30 - 10.4023.30 (FRI) - 23.40
-24 Feb - SATWorldSBKSuperpole13.00 - 13.1502.00 - 02.15
-24 Feb - SATWorldSSPRACE 114.3003.30
-24 Feb - SATWorldSBKRACE 116.0005.00
-25 Feb - SUNWorldSBKWarm-Up10.30 - 10.4023.30 (SAT) - 23.40
-25 Feb - SUNWorldSSPWarm-Up10.50 - 11.0023.50 - 00.00
-25 Feb - SUNWorldSBKSUPERPOLE RACE13.0002.00
-25 Feb - SUNWorldSSPRACE 214.3003.30
-25 Feb - SUNWorldSBKRACE 216.0005.00

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