It may only be day one of testing, but he himself couldn't have hoped for a better start. Yes, because Alvaro Bautista has positively shone on board the red bike at Phillip Island, Ducati topping the timesheets after Monday's sessions. The Aruba rider set his best time, a 1’30”743, during the day's first session and was the only rider to duck under 1’31” today. Having shown his potential when it comes to the flying lap, the Spaniard will now need to demonstrate what he's got in terms of race pace, where the competition is looking to be tough. Unfortunately, during the afternoon's session, strong winds meant that the morning's fastest time remained unbeatable.
The Superbike rookie couldn't have asked for more then, the rider also debuting winglets on his V4. On the other side of the garage however, Chaz Davies had a tougher time of it. In the morning, a technical problem with his bike meant that he was only able to complete 21 laps. Work continued during the afternoon, but the Welshman finished two seconds behind his team-mate. Tomorrow, during the final sessions, both Ducati riders will try some new ergonomic solutions.
It is strange not to see Johnny Rea (+0.446) out front. The four-time champion rounded out the day almost half a second from the front and also suffered a crash at turn ten towards the end of the morning's session. The Kawasaki rider was unhurt and, once back on his ZX-10RR, he focused on race pace, lapping consistently in the low 1’32s. Going just 0.043 of a second faster was Lowes, who finds himself back among the best.
In the Yamaha camp, Marco Melandri closed in sixth place (+0.702), working hard to find a solution to his bike's balance issues. A certain Tom Sykes was able to go one better than the Italian, moving up into fourth place just five minutes before the end (+0.557). A promising start for the BMW rider, who finished one position ahead of Leon Haslam, while van der Mark (+0.715) and Cortese (+0.895) closed in seventh and eighth place respectively on board the M1.
Just missing out on a top ten spot is Leon Camier on the Honda (+1.716), who lines up against his rivals for the first time in Australia. The Brit has rounded out day one more than a second and a half from the front with his Fireblade SP2. The journey with Moriwaki Althea is only just beginning of course, and so the situation can only improve. He is followed for now by Jordi Torres, followed in turn by Laverty, Rinaldi and Delbianco.
Testing resumes tomorrow at 9:10am local time (23:10 CET).