Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
The highly anticipated 2020 WorldSBK season finally approached us at Phillip Island (Australia) however with wet conditions for the opening Free Practice. Eugene Laverty new to the team for 2020 managed to complete 10 laps in the session despite the damp and slippy surface. Eugene finished his FP1 in P12 with a lap time of (1’45.169). Tom Sykes didn’t get to complete many laps however looked to gel with his BMW S 1000 RR pretty quickly, he ended the session in P5 (1’43.290) completing 3 laps.
The afternoon FP2 soon approached and with the sun breaking through the clouds, dried the track ahead of the 50-minute session. Both riders got to work on their race pace throughout the session with Tom Sykes lapping solid mid (1’31.000) laps, Eugene a few tenths slower also in the high 1’31’s. Towards the closing stages of session other riders opted to go for fresh tyres to find their 1 lap pace, both Eugene and Tom decided to concentrate on gathering information on the used tyre ahead of the opening race tomorrow. Final positions at the end of day 1; Tom Sykes P7, Eugene Laverty P14.
Tom Sykes (GBR)
“Its been a good day. We made some changes on the BMW S 1000 RR and felt really comfortable in the wet this morning and straight away settled into a good rhythm. This afternoon we started off the session good, tried a few different set ups along with an alternative tyre to try understand and gauge where we are at, so certainly happy with the information we found today. We finished FP2 in P7 which I feel for sure isn’t a true reflection of our potential.”
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“It was a disappointing FP1 being wet with having tested in good conditions on Monday and Tuesday, where we represented ourselves well. Tom did a pretty good job with the time he had and Eugene having only limited experience on the BMW in wet conditions. In FP2 everyone was eager to get out and get some dry lap times in. Tom settled in well on the race tyre with making some very minor suspension changes and ultimately got some solid race simulations in, so overall happy with Toms efforts in Free Practice. Eugene on the other hand struggled to match the times he put in on Monday and Tuesday, so he has bit of work to do but i’m sure come tomorrow he will make some progress in FP3 and heading into Superpole and Race 1.
Eugene Laverty – (IRL)
“We are little down the order at the moment which we need to improve for tomorrow. I have struggled in the flowing sections of the track on acceleration especially in sector 3 which is unusual as I have been normally strong there in the past, so this is something we need to have a look at. Tomorrow is looking dry so this will give us a chance to have a look at the data and try get ourselves up to where we want to be.
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“It was a difficult session this morning but still it was good to get out in the rain as there might be some chance of showers on Sunday, so from that point of view we looked strong. Of course you miss the chance to finalise the set up in the dry, and although our position at the end of FP2 might not show that we did not use a soft tyre and our race pace looked good which I am happy about. Tom should be a little higher than he is and again the time sheets don’t reflect this. Eugene still hasn’t found his happy place yet, but we will continue to work and don’t expect him to be up at the top with Tom this early in the season.”