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Laverty fastest out of the blocks in Australia

18 February 2013

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Eugene Laverty gave his burgeoning 2013 World Superbike Championship campaign a welcome early boost as he emerged top of the pile in the first of four official test sessions to be held at Phillip Island.

The Irishman, who enters into his second season with Aprilia Racing in 2013, leapt to the top of the timesheets with 40 minutes of the two-hour session remaining courtesy of a 1min 31.730secs lap that was enough to keep him ahead to the chequered flag.

Laverty was comfortably almost two tenths clear of his closest rival Pata Honda's Leon Haslam, the Briton chipping away at his best time as the session progressed to go second. Raising more smiles in the Ten Kate Racing-run team, Jonathan Rea was fourth quickest – despite a mid-session tumble at turn ten -, the Honda pair split by Althea Aprilia's Davide Giugliano.

Marco Melandri enjoyed a stint at the head of the timesheets before slipping back to fifth position, ahead of Italian counterpart Michel Fabrizio on his privateer Aprilia, while Tom Sykes made a positive return to action after injuring his wrist in an accident during testing last week, the 2012 runner-up going seventh best.

Elsewhere, Leon Camier was eighth quickest, while Laverty's new team-mate Sylvain Guintoli was another to suffer a tumble – along with wild-card Jamie Stauffer and Max Neukirchner -, but was still quick enough for ninth.

Outside the top ten, Stauffer remained 11th fastest, ahead of Carlos Checa, who was returning to action after spending time in hospital with a virus. Ducati counterpart Neukirchner was 13th best, though the German completed just ten laps after an accident that required a brief red flag stoppage and caused significant damage to his Panigale.

Another rider battling an injury sustained in a crash last week, Jules Cluzel was 14th quickest, ahead of another Australian Superbike wild-card Glenn Allerton, Ivan Clementi and Phillip Island debutant Loris Baz.

Missing from the two-day test is Ayrton Badovini, the Alstare Ducati rider choosing to focus on getting back to full strength ahead of this weekend's opening round after hurting himself in an accident last week.


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