If Dorna and the FIM wanted to slow down the ultimate lap times of the three-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea, thanks to the new 14,100rpm rev limit imposed on all the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR machines on the grid at the start of the 2018 season, it has not worked so far.

The Kawasaki man did an almost identical time to the corresponding Phillip Island tests in 2017, despite having 1100rpm less to play with on the long straight this year.

Despite falling again early in the final day, at low speed at the MG hairpin, Rea was under the previous best lap time of these tests, set by Aruba’s Ducati’s Marco Melandri on Monday. Rea left PI with a best of test 1’30.598 lap time, 0.128 second up on Melandri.

Team-mate Tom Sykes overcame some discomfort from his recently injured ankle to post third best time, and be even more satisfied with his overall race pace.

Eugene Laverty, riding for Milwaukee Aprilia, was 0.476 seconds from Rea, and fourth fastest, with the first independent rider Xavi Fores from Barni Racing Team Ducati just two thousandths of a second behind, in fifth place.

Just over half a second from the leading rider, Michael van der Mark was the fastest R1 runner in sixth. His Pata Yamaha team-mate Alex Lowes was seventh but 0.2 seconds back from VDM.

Leon Camier of R Bull Honda World Superbike Team, Loris Baz of Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team and Laverty’s teammate Lorenzo Savadori completed the top ten riders at this two day test.

Marco Melandri

In a tough period for Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies, with his bike losing out compared to its 2017 version in a few areas of the track, the Welsh rider finished a lowly 11th.

Toprak Razgatlioglu of Kawasaki Puccetti Racing was the second best independent rider, in 12th place, and the lone MV Agusta runner, Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 13th after his big first day crash.

Aftermath of Jordi Torres’ 1st day crash

Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 14th, just one place up on new boy Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team).

Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda) was top wildcard rider from Australia, in 16th place and just 1.699 seconds from the best today.

Another rookie rider in the class, PJ Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team) placed 20th.

Jonathan Rea doing a wheelie

The first round of the championship takes place at PI between 23rd and 25th February.

Posted by Philip Chong

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