WorldSBK Champion Alvaro Bautista was firmly in control as Tuesday’s testing concluded at Phillip Island ahead of the season opener this weekend.
Staking his claim on the top of the timesheets thanks to a 1’30.272 from the morning session, the Ducati rider’s pace was enough to hold court across the final day. While Bautista again controlled the afternoon standings, it was his morning effort that shone overall.
Teammate Michael Rinaldi maintained his consistency with the Aruba.it Panigale by securing third in both of Tuesday’s two hour sessions - despite an afternoon off at turn ten - with Yamaha’s Andrea Locatelli and Dominique Aegerter sharing the spoils from second. The Pata rider secured the runner up position in the combined times thanks to his opening 1’30.344 effort, to back up an equally strong showing on Monday morning, while the newly promoted WorldSSP Champion sat fifth overall by the close of play after setting a 1’30.739 lap three from the end.
Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea rounded out preseason testing from fourth after a second turn four crash. His 1’30.716 best set during the morning session leaving him 0.444s adrift of the outright pace but almost a second clear of teammate Alex Lowes who completed the day 15th overall. Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu spent the day running race simulations and concluded the test with a quieter than usual performance from sixth in the combined efforts.
GoEleven’s Philipp Oettl continued his run in the second group with at the seventh fastest lap of Tuesday. Honda’s Iker Lecuona besting rookie Remy Gardner on the GRT Yamaha for eighth and ninth while Axel Bassani rounded out the top ten on the Motocorsa Ducati from fellow Bologna rider Danilo Petrucci. The pair endured a trip to the medical centre following a dramatic coming together at turn four which brought out the red flags in the first hour of the second session, but returned to the track unscathed shortly after. Puccetti Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and GMT94’s Lorenzo Baldassarri the afternoon’s other fallers, at turns four and six respectively, with the latter requiring a second red flag as his R1 caught fire, while Honda’s Xavi Vierge suffered a heavy turn eight off during the morning outing.
Michael van der Mark was the highest placed BMW as preseason preparation came to a halt, Garrett Gerloff, Scott Redding and Loris Baz completing the pack from 13th, 14th and 16th respectively. The Frenchman 1.3s adrift of the outright pace as the chequered flag dropped, with the first race of 2023 now looming.