Friday at Phillip Island has given us a clearer ideas as to the levels of this year's SBK riders and bikes and the first practice sessions may have provided some clues about the upcoming races.
After Marco Melandri,who set the fifth time with the factory Ducati Aruba, the next best placed Italian is Lorenzo Savadori, on the RSV4 of British team Milwaukee, in seventh place more than six tenths from Chaz Davies' time.
Savadori summarises his Friday: “seventh place means I'm straight into SP2 and that's a really positive thing. But we still have to improve, because the distance from the leaders is still significant, we need to be closer”.
Did you expect Laverty and yourself to set better times?
“We're definitely here with the intention to do a lot better, and we can do so. We shouldn't look too far ahead though. Today was only Friday and we'll stay focused on the present. The bike has grown in terms of the engine and it's now easier for me to ride. My team-mate Laverty is further back but I know I can learn a lot from him, because he's strong and will find that way to climb the timesheets. We can both be in the positions that count”.
Alex De Angelis, crash aside, did well during the Australian practice sessions and could further close the gap tomorrow: “I crashed because I don't yet understand my Kawasaki's reactions when I push to the limit, luckily I'm fine -Alex reassures us- I came off without even a scratch”.
What kind of work have you been doing in the Pedercini garage?
“After having tried some new things with the ZX10RR, we've gone back to the setting that we had before and I've started to improve my performance, establishing some details and planning the path to take. Today I was on used tyres and got on well. Be careful though, as the level of bikes and riders is continuing to rise, it's getting higher… I noted that from Hayden down (the American was eighth today), we're all very close, so I think we can be even faster in the race and close in around tenth place”.