Laverty shines in the Australian sun as testing begins

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki finished the first day of testing at Phillip Island in Australia in fine style today with Eugene Laverty topping the times, and WSBK rookie Alex Lowes in fifth position overall with a lap time only 0.5s behind his experienced teamm

Laverty took to the 4,445m Victoria circuit aboard the newly liveried Suzuki GSX-R1000 aiming for a base time of 1’33.0 with which to start the two-day test, but with conditions almost perfect he exceeded even his own expectations. Putting in a time of 1’30.5, Laverty ended the morning session as the rider to beat. New to the Phillip Island circuit, teammate Alex Lowes learnt the track quickly, and despite a small crash in the latter stages, concluded the first session comfortably in the top ten, with a lap time of 1’31.6 placing him eighth. Clear blue skies allowed temperatures in the afternoon session to climb to a pleasant 23°C with a south westerly wind occasionally catching riders out. Lowes continued to improve throughout the day ending the afternoon in fourth place for the second session with a time of 1’31.0, and holding fifth in the combined standings. Laverty’s morning time proved a tough call for the challenging pack and the Irishman concluded the first day’s testing with the strongest time overall. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will now continue to assess the data collected, in readiness for tomorrow’s final day of testing at the Australian track, before the eni FIM Superbike World Championship’s first race of the 2014 season commences this Sunday. Eugene Laverty: “We surprised ourselves with the lap time today. We were a lot faster than where I’d set my goal and the fact that the bike works so well around here is nice too! Today is probably the best conditions I’ve ever had at Phillip Island, usually you have a strong head wind, strong tail wind, or it’s too hot and slippery. Today was optimum temperature with very little wind so that’s why the lap times were so quick. In terms of feedback the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R is better than any Superbike I’ve ridden here, I can really attack the course more than I ever have done, and that gives me a lot of confidence. The rear tyres are working well too, even after 24 laps we are still under my lap record so that’s definitely positive!” Alex Lowes: “Today was good fun! It’s always difficult coming to a new track but Phillip Island is a track that I have dreamed of racing on since I was a kid, I was really looking forward to it and it didn’t disappoint. It’s quite difficult to learn because of the speed but it’s fantastic. I love the last corner and Stoner Corner is probably one of the best I’ve ever ridden around. I had a couple of issues with the bike this morning and missed a bit of time and had a little crash, which was my fault, but the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R has performed better every time I’ve been out. We’ve taken some good steps in the right direction and hopefully we’ll continue to do more tomorrow. I’m reasonably happy with where we are and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.” Phillip Island – eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Official Test: 1. EUGENE LAVERTY (VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI) 1’30.513: 2. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’30.718: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’30.737: 4. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’30.757: 5. ALEX LOWES (VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI) 1’31.000: 6. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1’31.146: 7. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1’31.172: 8. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’31.321: 9. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’31.404: 10. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1’31.419: