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Sykes, Lowes assume Phillip Island WSBK test pace

Tom Sykes unleashes a fierce pace at Phillip Island to top Tuesday's morning test session, but rookie Alex Lowes steals the limelight in second.
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Defending World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes has fired a warning shot to his rivals after getting to within 0.005secs of the lap record on the second morning of pre-season testing at Phillip Island.

The Kawasaki rider has maintained a fairly low profile since the start of the test yesterday and was notable for spending much of today's two-hour morning session languishing in the lower reaches of the top ten.

However, Sykes's revered single lap pace would prove evident once more with just four minutes of the session remaining as he lapped in 1min 30.239secs, almost three tenths up on his closely-matched rivals and just a whisker shy of Carlos Checa's lap record from 2013.

Though Sykes's late show would serve to deny Alex Lowes a shot at grabbing the headlines for himself, the youngster was once more a revelation on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki as he twice rebounded to the top of the timesheets and comfortably out-paced team-mate Eugene Laverty.

A faster session than on Monday, though only Sykes was able to better Laverty's pace setting time from day one of testing, nine riders would get within the 1min 30secs bracet in this session.

It was also another bruising session for a handful of riders, with Loris Baz missing much of the session after crashing early on, three red flags being deployed and Claudio Corti and Luca Scassa the latest to take a trip to the medical centre following offs.

Up at the front, Marco Melandri was third fastest after continual improvements over the session, ahead of Ducati's Davide Giugliano, initial pace setter Sylvain Guintoli and Laverty, while Honda continued to chase in seventh and eighth, Leon Haslam leading Jonathan Rea.

Despite completing just six laps, Baz was still ninth best and faster than Chaz Davies, the first of the riders not to crack 1min 31secs.

Notably for the Welshman, however, is the proximity of Niccolo Canepa, the Italian comfortably heading up the EVO ranks just 1.1secs off the ultimate pace and a couple of tenths from Davies on the championship-specification Ducati.

Elsewhere, MV Agusta's development was stuttered by Corti's crash after just two laps, but there was more positive news for Team Hero EBR as Geoff May and Aaron Yates made big gains during the session. Though still a sizeable 4.5s and 6.4s off the pace respectively, it still represents a massive three second improvement on yesterday's lap times.




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