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Laverty resists Giugliano to set test pace

17 February 2014

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Eugene Laverty has ended the first day of official World Superbike pre-season testing at Phillip Island with the fastest time after his morning effort proved good enough to resist his rivals in the afternoon.

A twice interrupted session following crashes for Michel Fabrizio and Sylvain Barrier - the two riders being transported to hospital, where they are undergoing x-rays for suspected pelvic injuries - Laverty's lap of 1min 30.513secs from the morning presided over a fairly static timesheet in the afternoon as minimal gains in time negated any significant movement in the order.

However, with just a few minutes on the clock remaining following the second red flag, a flurry of quick times briefly threatened to dethrone Laverty. In the end, Ducati's Davide Giugliano got closest with a 1min 30.718secs lap, but while it ensured he was fastest of the session itself, he was still two tenths shy of unseating Laverty overall.

Another to make a late improvement, Tom Sykes leapfrogged his Kawasaki team-mate Loris Baz for end-of-session bragging rights on a day when he was generally out-paced by his counterpart.

Complementing his pace setting team-mate, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki's rookie Alex Lowes proved something of a revelation as he rapidly learned his way around the Australian circuit to go fifth quickest, less than half-a-second off the ultimate pace.

It was enough to see the youngster end the day ahead of both Aprilia and Honda riders, with Marco Melandri sixth, ahead of Leon Haslam, Sylvain Guintoli and Jonathan Rea. Chaz Davies on the second Ducati completed the top ten.

Elsewhere, Althea Racing's Niccolo Canepa once again led the new EVO ranks, the Italian impressing to prove just four tenths slower than Davies's championship-class equivalent of the Ducati 1199R. Finishing 11th overall, he was faster than Toni Elias on the Red Devils Roma and eight tenths faster than the next best EVO rider in David Salom.

Behind them, MV Agusta's Claudio Corti chipped away at his best time to end the day a solid 14th best, ahead of Barrier, Jeremy Guarnoni and Fabien Foret, the French trio rounding out the EVO top five.

Team Hero Erik Buell Racing, meanwhile, didn't make it out for the second session of the day following technical issues in the morning, while Team Toth BMW rider Peter Sebestyen was also absent after hurting himself in an accident earlier today.


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